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Ask Dave

Finding The Money

John suspects he might have a long-lost inheritance out there somewhere. What will it take for him to claim it?

QUESTION: John’s aunt died several years ago, and he and his sister were left a $160,000 inheritance. He can’t find the inheritance letter and his sister is now dead. He’s wondering how he can get the inheritance. This might involve some detective work, says Dave.

ANSWER: You have to trace it back through the people involved. If your sister has no heirs, then you might need to go through her personal effects. Talk to the neighbors she used to live next to and find out who cleaned out her stuff. Call the manager of the apartment complex that she lived in; they may have boxed up her stuff from the apartment. There’s not a central financial database that everyone must report to. You’re looking for a sniff in order to find the trail. I’d do a lot of investigating for $160,000.