The Asset Recovery Process
In addition to the investigative services that we provide to estate administrators, personal representatives, oil and gas companies, and mineral estate companies seeking to identify and locate the heirs and beneficiaries of unclaimed assets, we also provide individuals with asset recovery services that generally involve the following steps or phases:
° Discovery Phase: Our first task upon discovery of an unclaimed asset is to determine if the asset can be redeemed and if it is economically viable to expend the effort and expense of opening a full-scale investigation. Identified assets can be as old as 20 years or more, having been dormant with no known beneficiaries. The original owner may be deceased or lost through marriage or divorce.
° Identification and Search Phase: Next, we begin our search phase to either identify potential beneficiaries and heirs or search for known beneficiaries and heirs. This phase can be the most time consuming, sometimes requiring weeks or months of work. We take pride in being very thorough and we strive to identify all potential claimants.
° Contact Phase: Once we have located any identified beneficiaries and heirs, we will try to contact them by phone to inform them of our purpose in contacting them. We then follow-up by mail by sending an Engagement Letter setting forth our services. If you have received an Engagement Letter from us, it is because we have done in-depth research into the assets to which we believe you are entitled.
° Claim Phase: The claim process may take weeks or months to complete. This process normally is expedited by hiring an attorney in the area where the assets are located. We offer to pay the fees for the attorney that we refer to the claimant (the heir or beneficiary that makes a claim) for non-litigation matters involved in the claim process. There are no out-of-pocket expenses to the claimant unless the claimant chooses an alternate attorney. We provide the claimant’s attorney with all of the documentation necessary to present the claim. Each claim may be different in terms of hours to complete. On average, we devote more than a thousand hours annually to the claim process.
° Asset Recovery Phase: Once all of the evidence and documentation has been delivered to the asset manager, we continuously maintain contact with the asset manager and respond to any questions or requests for additional information and documentation that they may have. Occasionally, a hearing will be requested by the asset manager in which we may be called upon to explain the evidence. As soon as the recovery of the assets has been secured, the claimant’s proceeds will be sent to the claimant’s attorney and distributed to the claimant.
° Asset Recovery Fees: The asset recovery fees that we receive for our services are limited to the agreed upon percentage indicated in our Engagement Letter when we contact heirs and beneficiaries. These fees are based on a percentage of any money recovered. We do not ask for any money up front. If we are successful in recovering money for the claimant, we get paid; if not, we receive nothing. If the beneficiary or heir wishes to proceed, he or she only needs to sign the Assignment Agreement and we can begin the process of recovering the money. Upon completion of the asset recovery process, the claimant’s money is delivered to the claimant’s attorney or representative and we are paid only when the money is available to the claimant. In the event that a claim becomes illiquid, we absorb all expenses. The claimant is not responsible for any fees or costs.
° Missing Beneficiary Search Fees: We also offer a fee-based search for missing beneficiaries. In the event that there are any unknown legal beneficiaries connected to an asset, we can provide evidence to the authority handling the asset to allow the administrator to escheat or distribute the asset and close the file.
° Referral Fees: We also pay referral fees.