What is an Heir Finder?
Heir finders do many different things such as locating legitimate  assets as well as their potential owners or heirs, obtaining required documentation, assisting in the filing of the claim and much more. Heir finders can work for a number of different companies or independently. There are many different heir finders out there so it’s important to choose the one that best fits your needs.

Things to Consider
With multiple options and things to consider, you might find it difficult to decide which heir finder to choose. To find the heir finder that’s best for you, it’s important to determine what your needs are and what’s most important to you when considering an heir finder.

Privacy and Security

If you take your personal information seriously and your privacy is important to you, it might be a good idea to choose a licensed private investigation company or other incorporated business to assist you with your lost assets claim. These companies usually hold their employees to very high privacy and security standards. Policies and Codes of Conduct are usually in place to secure your information is secure at all times. Identity theft has been at an all-time high over the last several years so taking this into consideration should be one of your top priorities.

Approving the Claim

Lost assets can belong to the original owner, beneficiaries named in a will, heirs determined by the State intestate succession, an open or closed company, an open or closed trust, and more. The documentation required for each claim varies based on circumstance. There are many circumstances that can make it difficult to obtain the required documentation to prove the claim to the state. Since everything is determined on a case by case basis and everything is very much circumstantial, it’s important to choose an heir finder with the experience and knowledge necessary to get your claim approved. Licensed private investigation companies generally have the resources and knowledge required to obtain these required documents.

Avoiding Scams

There are more and more companies and individuals posing as companies trying to scam consumers and clients on a daily basis. There are many ways to verify a company’s legitimacy and it’s important that you do so without taking it lightly.

Ways companies can prove their legitimacy:

  • Better Business Bureau accreditation and holding a high Better Business Bureau rating
  • Obtaining a business license and/or private investigation license in one or more states
  • Company works on a contingent basis and does not require you to pay them up front
  • Company has verifiable references and/or testimonials

Making the Final Decision

One last thing that’s important to consider is the knowledge and background of an heir finder before making your final decision. It’s not only important the company is experienced in escheated assets, but it’s also very important and very helpful when the company and/or heir finder is experienced in other areas as well. Other areas of expertise to consider would be genealogy, research, and customer service, just to name a few. When a company has multiple resources and multiple other areas of expertise, it’s more likely they can help you get the through the claim process and help you obtain the required documentation to prove your claim.

By Katelyn Kauffman, Case Manager at Lauth Investigations-Lost Assets Division