Pekin, IL asked in Estate Planning, Family Law and Legal Malpractice for Iowa

Q: Q: Both my aunt and only cousin passed away, cousin in 2005, aunt in 2006. I am the only living relative and in wills.

The estates were probated and settled. Years later a number of trust accounts have appeared as Iowa unclaimed property. The accounts have been mostly depleted with some positive balance.

Q 1. Who is responsible for the error?

Q2. If the accounts were valued more at the death of the account holders than now, ( if the accounts have been drained) who is responsible?

Q3. How can I determine the value of the accounts at the time of estate settlement and file for amounts due?

Q 4. For this disbursement, does it follow the guidelines of the wills or is this a New event since the estate is closed?

1 Lawyer Answer
Kenneth V Zichi
Kenneth V Zichi
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Fowlerville, MI

A: If there were a TRUST at the time of passing, the successor Trustee should have managed this -- it would NOT have gone through or been the responsibility of the Estate representatives.

This highlights the importance of people keeping their records in order to insure their heirs will know what to be looking for and what to expect! If the accounts were 'drained' by administrative expenses, the Trustee MAY be responsible for that oversight, but you would have to show they SHOULD HAVE KNOWN about these accounts and chose to do nothing. That will be a tricky proof!

If someone improperly 'drained' the accounts, whoever did that may be responsible! HOWEVER, the person who has the right to complain is the beneficiary of the trust! You don't say who that is....

I'd strongly urge you to consult with a local estate attorney to review everything to insure what you do next will be both productive and proper. Good luck.

--This answer is offered for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney/client relationship. I am licensed to practice in Michigan only. Please seek competent local legal help if you feel you need legal advice!

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