How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Dimitry K., Esq. Your Own Question
Dimitry K., Esq.
Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 41221
Experience:  Multiple jurisdictions, specialize in business/contract disputes, estate creation and administration.
Type Your Legal Question Here...
Dimitry K., Esq. is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

In May of 2012 I received a notice of unclaimed property from American

Customer Question

In May of 2012 I received a notice of unclaimed property from American General Life Insurance company in regard to money owed to my father. He passed away in 2004; I was the executor of his estate. After several calls to AGL I was finally(yesterday) emailed a Proof of Heirship Affidavit. This form states that by signing I "do solemnly swear that the Decedent left no will", which does not apply in this case. It also asks that I find two non relatives (as I am related to the Decedent) to sign this document stating that they "do solemnly swear that I know the above named decedent and am familiar with the statements made above". I cannot produce two individuals who knew my father. It's been too many years and honestly, I didn't know his friends.

I emailed the Unclaimed Property Analyst (Thomas Herbert) explaining that this form does not seem to apply to this situation, and that further, the form states that if there was a will I could send Letters Testamentary in place of the form (that and they ask for a copy of the death certificate). The response was that I could supply them with that information if I want, but if the estate was closed they would not be able to distribute the money as the check would need to be made out to the estate. The estate has been closed for seven years.

It seems outlandish to me that it took them eight years to discover these assets at all, and the fact that so much time has elapsed is making it much harder to bring this matter to a close. Is what they are asking me to do the law, or just a matter of their company policy? I asked to speak to their legal department and they would not give me that contact information.

Thank you for your time and consideration in this matter.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for your question, Tracy. Please permit me to assist you with your concerns.

I am afraid that the insurer is technically correct here. They cannot disburse funds directly to anyone without proof both of relationship (if no beneficiary listing is provided), and proof that there is no other entity out there who is entitled to funds. Typically that other entity would be the estate because when someone passes away, this artificial entity is created to wind down affairs, pay off creditors, and transfer assets of the estate to heirs and beneficiaries. This life insurance proceed without direct beneficiaries would be considered an asset of the estate. The only way to receive this money is to formally reopen probate because then the estate would receive the funds and then disburse them, OR that you choose to claim there is no will and no former estate, and then use that to pursue the funds under their instructions. Anything else is not sufficient, and what they are asking you is both law and policy (I happened to work for such insurance companies prior to law and am quite familiar with the way they work going forward in this type of a situation).

Good luck.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

My father was an agent for this company, it is payment due him for work he did, not a life insurance policy. I apologize for not being clear about that. My sister was also a beneficiary of my father's will, but I was told it was her responsibility to correspond with them regarding her half of the monies owed.


Were they not obligated to discover these much earlier than this? The estate was open for two years. Don't companies have to review these matters on a yearly basis?

Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for your follow-up, William.

As this was a payment due to your father and not to you, it is technically due to the estate, which is the extension of your deceased father's assets. That makes it even more 'proper' that the company require either estate paperwork or assurances that this money is going to you without an estate. The reason is because otherwise they remain potentially liable should an another party appear contesting the transacting and claiming to be an heir or beneficiary. Then the company would be required to pay this money out twice.

There is no duty on part of the company to investigate their debts, it is generally the obligation of the debt holder (the creditor), to pursue those assets. Here, your father and his estate are the creditors, so it would have been their responsibility to pursue this.

Good luck.

Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 4 years ago.

I appreciate your 'poor service' rating. What specifically did I fail to answer, or are you unhappy over the steps you need to take, something I personally have no control over?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Suggesting I follow their instruction would mean lying. This document requires witnesses and needs to be notarized. My issue is that they will accept only that form. I think that is poor advice. you never adderssed the issue of producing people who knew my father. And I have learned that companies are supposed to review their records yearly. least in mass. So no I am not satisfied, and not because of something you have no control over. I find thay suggestion insulting. And I signed my letter Tracy. My name is XXXXX XXXXX

Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 4 years ago.

My apologies, the customer name I see here is "William" and not Tracy. No disrespect was meant.

I also very directly stated tht the option I provided is indeed lying and not favorable. The only reasonable and 'honest' approach is to re-open probate, something that you can do even after years of it being closed, receive the funds there, and then disburse it out, which was my initial answer to you. This has nothing to do with producing people who knew or did not know your father, you personally have no right to the funds if there is an existing estate because it is the estate who is entitled to receive the funds and then disburse them out. Take care.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

You did not specifically state that all. I suggest you read what you wrote again. I am not satisfied and expect not to be charged. I will not do this endless loup of responding to you so you can keep trying to get your miney.