Q: Hello. My mother was a drug addict in the 90's. The state of Michigan took us in and made us foster kids. My grandmother
& I filed missing persons reports and took dental records to the morgue. No one has seen or heard from my mother since. How do I go about filing a claim for unclaimed property If we have no death certificate?
A: Have you checked the state treasury office for unclaimed property? Without a death certificate, you will need to prove she died, which is not easy. Have you thought about hiring a private investigator?
MCL §700.1207 controls as to having someone declared legally dead so you can get a death certificate.
The requirements are there, but frankly this happens so infrequently that I'd have to sit and read the thing to remember exactly what is needed. Provided nobody has seen or heard from someone for a long enough time, and there is no 'indicia of fraud' like a large insurance claim or debt etc, then you'll likely get a death certificate by judicial order at the end of the process.
There are 'speedier' methods if someone dies as a result of 'peril' like a plane crash or being in a war combat zone etc, but for your purposes the 'longer' and more traditional methods would seem to be applicable.
If you don't know how to or feel uncomfortable doing this, hiring a local attorney familiar with the Probate Court would be advisable. Getting local legal advice even if you ARE going to try to DIY this would be a good start regardless. Take what evidence you do have, a 'timeline' (nothing fancier than dates and events written on a piece of paper really) and whatever 'official' documentation you have to an attorney is a good 'first step.'
-- 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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