There are many private Asset Recovery companies and Professional Tracers that will offer to help you recover your abandoned or lost property. Some of these firms will try to charge you a 20-35% contingency fee for the recovery of the lost asset.
Do your homework. In addition to regularly checking in our databases, check all old financial records including brokerage statements and tax returns. Pay special attention to securities with dividend reinvestment plans of companies that have gone through a merger or acquisition.
Asset Finders or Tracers specialize in Pre-escheat securities, Court funds and unredeemed government checks. They obtain these records from cooperating Companies as Holders, Transfer Agents and by searching Court records before the asset is scheduled to be transferred (or escheated) to the appropriate custodian Government agency. This way the Finder or Tracer can avoid both any licensing requirement and the finder fee cap imposed by most States’ Unclaimed Property Statutes – ie) 10% once the property reaches the government for safekeeping.
In other words, if contacted by a Tracer you can be certain the asset is likely approaching the end of its ‘dormancy period’ and will be transferred (escheated) over within the next 6-9 months or less. If you can wait you may be able to locate the unclaimed asset yourself in the only National online database for unclaimed assets – US Unclaimed Money. If situation warrants that you don’t wish to wait and need the funds now, try to negotiate a lower fee. Remember, that once the asset is transferred to a Government agency and you still cannot locate it, the Tracer’s fee is likely to be capped at 10%.
NOTE: If the Tracer cannot give you the exact value of the unclaimed asset, that likely confirms it is a security of some sort. If you decide to employ his services, you may wish to pay him the fee directly without the Tracer selling the security and taking his fee from the sale proceeds. In addition, one should carefully evaluate the decision to sell the security at all. For if the security t has appreciated significantly, you could be liable for payment of capital gains tax so check with your accountant
Some companies, particularly those that deal with securities, will offer to liquidate the asset and deduct their fees from the proceeds. One should carefully evaluate the decision to sell stock, however. If it has appreciated significantly, you could be liable for payment of capital gains tax – check with your accountant
One must also remember that most States will eventually sell a security that is transferred to them and credit the owner’s account with the proceeds. So if the abandoned security is transferred to a State agency and one waits too long, an unclaimed security will be sold thus creating possible tax consequences and foregoing any appreciation and future dividends.
Also keep in mind one may have to search in many States for your unclaimed property. Per a 1995 Supreme Court ruling Texas vs New Jersey, if the address of the owner of the unclaimed property is unknown or a foreign country then the property is transferred to the State in which the holder is incorporated. Start with States such as Connecticut, Delaware and Illinois that are headquarters for many large publicly traded and financial service companies. To check all possible Government agencies try the only National online database at US Unclaimed Money
It is often possible to locate the name of a lost asset by going through old financial documents, including brokerage statements and tax returns. Be especially mindful of securities with dividend reinvestment plans, and for those companies you have owned that have merged or spun-off shares within the preceding five years.
Mutual funds often conduct their own transfer operations in-house. Contact all mutual funds you have ever owned, regardless of whether they’ve been sold or not. You may be entitled to unpaid dividends or distributions that were payable before the shares were disposed of.
If your search fails to turn up the asset, you may want to try to negotiate a lower fee with the Asset Finder or Tracer. If they know you have the information or resources available to you to eventually locate the asset yourself, they are much more inclined to entertain a lower fee. And the closer it gets to the end of the dormancy period, the more motivated the Finder or Tracer will become.
Even with the above information and access to the Internet’s largest unclaimed property database of more than 50 million records, .if you are still unable to locate the asset and are in need of special assistance, please contact us at US-Unclaimed Money. Our staff has years of expertise in locating hard to find lost assets.