Missing asset "found"

Hi,
My grandmother passed away about 13 months ago, and my mother is one of the executors of her estate.

She got an unsolicited letter this week from a company called "Worthington Clark" that claims to have found an asset in the name of my grandmother that Mum, "as an executor of the estate, may be entitled to". They want 25% (+ GST) to reveal the details of the asset! :eek: They will only take the commission if they are successful.

Mum's solicitor didn't really have any specific advice! Has anyone had any dealings with them? It just seems really strange as Grandma was pretty good with knowing her assets - she could reel off a list of the shares she owned and the dividends! ;) How would these people know about an asset that the solicitor/executor don't know about?

I've tried Google about this company but didn't get much, but I'm trying to find any assets through different means! :cool:
 
Hi,
My grandmother passed away about 13 months ago, and my mother is one of the executors of her estate.

She got an unsolicited letter this week from a company called "Worthington Clark" that claims to have found an asset in the name of my grandmother that Mum, "as an executor of the estate, may be entitled to". They want 25% (+ GST) to reveal the details of the asset! :eek: They will only take the commission if they are successful.

Mum's solicitor didn't really have any specific advice! Has anyone had any dealings with them? It just seems really strange as Grandma was pretty good with knowing her assets - she could reel off a list of the shares she owned and the dividends! ;) How would these people know about an asset that the solicitor/executor don't know about?

I've tried Google about this company but didn't get much, but I'm trying to find any assets through different means! :cool:
They have been around for a while,
http://www.search.asic.gov.au/cgi-bin/gns030c?acn=002216953&juris=9&hdtext=ACN&srchsrc=1
other than that i know nothing about them..
imho willair..
 
I would have thought the solicitor would have discovered this asset during probate. I was the executor of a friend's estate and the tiniest amounts of shares she had were found during probate. 25% sounds dodgy just to reveal the details!

Good luck :)
 
Mum's solicitor didn't really have any specific advice! How would these people know about an asset that the solicitor/executor don't know about?
Does the solicitor normally deal with deceased estates? What the heck are you paying them for if they can't offer you any advice in the situation? The Worthington Clark site actually advises you run it past your solicitor...

IMO I would want to know the size/value of the asset before signing away 25% + GST (which I assume would be another 2.5% of the assets value). Perhaps you can go back to them and offer 15% including GST, I mean it simply sounds like a finders fee and 25% is a large cut...also I would be careful to read what is signed, what if the asset is already something identified by the solicitor and the company is simply not aware, would want to make sure the paperwork says they don't get their cut if that's the case.

Here is an interesting article on "Heir Hunting":
http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/tax/article.html?in_article_id=421537&in_page_id=11
 
...also I would be careful to read what is signed, what if the asset is already something identified by the solicitor and the company is simply not aware, would want to make sure the paperwork says they don't get their cut if that's the case.

The possibility for overlap between what is know and what they think they know must happen and you would certainly need to ensure that you are covered in this case.

Apart from that even a 25% fee is still better than not finding it. Reading the article it seems to indicate that these people are searching beyond the immediate deceased and that the deceased only acts as the catylist for their search.

Cheers
 
Check the unclaimed monies registers in the different states.

I think computershare and the other share registry compnaies will do a check for you at a cost.

Check your grandmother's tax records for the past few years.

Offer the company their commission if it is an asset that the solicitor and executor are not aware of
 
This is a legit small business.

Finding lost sums for a commission.

I am surprised they didn't tell you how much the lost sum was.

I bet you'll be kicking yourself if you never find it yourself!
 
This is a legit small business.

Finding lost sums for a commission.

I am surprised they didn't tell you how much the lost sum was.

I bet you'll be kicking yourself if you never find it yourself!

They have told us the sum... ;) And we ARE having a go at looking for it ourselves :D - asic, fido, sro - no luck yet! I'll probably get Mum to just agree to pay them the finders fee, as 75% of something is better that 75% of nothing!
 
They have told us the sum... ;) And we ARE having a go at looking for it ourselves :D - asic, fido, sro - no luck yet! I'll probably get Mum to just agree to pay them the finders fee, as 75% of something is better that 75% of nothing!
Maybe just ring up the "ATO",and ask if you can access the late person Tax
returns,that way what ever investments she was in control of will show up.
Unless they were hidden that well,they were under the ATO radar,then there may well be something off shore..
willair,
 
I'd want to make sure there's safeguards around them providing details of an asset that you already knew about.

Also, I'd be wanting to make sure that my assessment of "success" is consistent with theirs. Ie, you state that they get their commission if they are "successful". In the previous line, you talk about "an asset that the executor may be entitled to". Is "success" measured by:

  • Finding an asset to which the estate may be entitled;
  • Finding a previously unknown asset to which the estate may be entitled;
  • Finding a previously unknown asset to which the estate is found to have an entitlement; or
  • Finding a previously unknown asset from which the estate receives an entitlement.
Different enough to be important.

Thirdly, is the commission paid on the value of the asset or on the estate's share of the value of the asset?

Fourthly, what if legal proceedings are required to challenge current ownership of the asset? Is the commission paid gross or net of legals? Would you be required to pay the commission under such circumstances where you decided it was not worth pursuing such legal action?

Sounds like a discussion worth pursuing further. Keep us in the loop as to your experiences...
 
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They have told us the sum... ;) And we ARE having a go at looking for it ourselves :D - asic, fido, sro - no luck yet! I'll probably get Mum to just agree to pay them the finders fee, as 75% of something is better that 75% of nothing!

As I understand it they are looking not at your grandmothers estate but at an estate of someone where your grandmother was a potential beneficiary. If this is the case then any searches related to your grandmother will be fruitless as she was not found and will not have been recorded as owning nor controlling the asset.

Cheers
 
I'd want to make sure there's safeguards around them providing details of an asset that you already knew about.

Also, I'd be wanting to make sure that my assessment of "success" is consistent with theirs. Ie, you state that they get their commission if they are "successful". In the previous line, you talk about "an asset that the executor may be entitled to". Is "success" measured by:

  • Finding an asset to which the estate may be entitled;
  • Finding a previously unknown asset to which the estate may be entitled;
  • Finding a previously unknown asset to which the estate is found to have an entitlement; or
  • Finding a previously unknown asset from which the estate receives an entitlement.
Different enough to be important.

Thirdly, is the commission paid on the value of the asset or on the estate's share of the value of the asset?

Fourthly, what if legal proceedings are required to challenge current ownership of the asset? Is the commission paid gross or net of legals? Would you be required to pay the commission under such circumstances where you decided it was not worth pursuing such legal action?

Sounds like a discussion worth pursuing further. Keep us in the loop as to your experiences...

Some good points, Gremlin, especially about the legal possibilities. I don't have the document in front of me, but they want 25% of the value of the asset, and their definition of success is not as clear as one would expect!

My wife's been searching around and HAS found some "missing" assets (eg, $20 dividends from a now delisted company that wasn't claimed), so we'll keep doing our own searching for now.

Will advise on results.
 
Hi guys,

interesting forum, any other places that you can look for the executor to find monies? that's not already mentioned?
 
My cousin and her husband were in a similar situation recently.

It was a UK company that contacted them informing them they were beneficiaries of a relatives estate in England.

They managed to negotiate them down to 15% from a higher amount (I think it may have been 20%).

So roughly 20K for this co. and over 100K for them :).
 
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Same thing happened with my Brother in law. Cash turned up in the USA and he lived in the UK. It was quite a large sum that they were totally unaware of, some very distant relative and they were the last surviving family members.

He happily paid the commission. :D

Chris
 
This sounds a bit like they are holding you to ransom. If your grandmother is owed money by someone it seems wrong to have to give one fifth of it away. That is a huge commission, especially for a large amount.

Sounds like a company set up by Arthur Daly :rolleyes:
 
There is money!

Finally an update on this... (For those still interested)

My aunty (co-executor) got a similar letter from Worthington Clark, and rang the "lost monies" at FIDO. They told her that there was some money and that she could claim it once it was posted on the internet - which was going to be a few weeks away. (Why they wouldn't let her claim it beforehand, we won't ever understand! :confused: But Mum may have got the story wrong - she's like that sometimes!! ;)) And I still don't know the whats, the whys and the wherefores.

Anyway, the cheque's on the way, via the solicitor. It is 5 figures, so worth chasing, hence the interest from Worthington Clark! From what I've gleaned, they seem to be a legit business, with the "right" connections, or access to the appropriate systems.

I'd still be questioning the solicitor... but it's none of my business. :rolleyes:
 
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