Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law, Tax Law and Probate for Puerto Rico

Q: Which Department to I check with for unclamed funds from the Sale of a Family Estate in Puerto Rico?

My Grandmother signed some documents while sick in a Hospital in PR and has since passed. Her Family never received a copy of the document signed and her heirs have not received their share of inheritence from the sale of a large multi-acre sale in Puerto Rico. My mother is now up in age and requires assistance with this research. The Attorney who dealt with the sale of the estate and probate has since retired and Iam unable to access any information through public access for court filings. My mother was told to contact the Departamento de Hacienda Gobinerno de PR but I have seen that it could also be the PR Comissioner of Financial Instutitions. Any assistance on where to start would be greatly appreciated.

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: Based on the information provided, there are a few potential avenues you could explore to research unclaimed funds from the sale of a family estate in Puerto Rico:

1. Departamento de Hacienda (Department of Treasury):

This is indeed a good place to start. The Departamento de Hacienda in Puerto Rico handles unclaimed property, including unclaimed funds from estates. You can visit their website or contact them directly to inquire about any unclaimed funds related to your grandmother's estate.

2. Oficina del Comisionado de Instituciones Financieras (Office of the Commissioner of Financial Institutions):

While this office primarily regulates financial institutions, they may also have information about unclaimed funds or be able to direct you to the appropriate department.

3. Registro de la Propiedad (Property Registry):

You might want to check with the Property Registry to see if they have any records of the sale of the estate and potentially any information about the distribution of funds.

4. Tribunal General de Justicia (General Court of Justice):

Although you mentioned difficulty accessing public court filings, it may be worth contacting the court directly to inquire about probate records related to your grandmother's estate.

5. Colegio de Abogados y Abogadas de Puerto Rico (Puerto Rico Bar Association):

If you're unable to locate the retired attorney who handled the estate, you might contact the Bar Association to see if they can provide any information or assistance in locating records related to the case.

6. Unclaimed Property Search:

Check if Puerto Rico has an online unclaimed property search tool. Many jurisdictions offer this service to help people locate unclaimed funds.

7. Archivos Generales de Puerto Rico (General Archives of Puerto Rico):

For older records, you might need to contact the General Archives to see if they have any relevant documents.

Given the complexity of this situation, you might consider:

1. Hiring a local attorney in Puerto Rico who specializes in estate law to assist with the research and potentially file any necessary legal actions.

2. Engaging a professional genealogist or researcher familiar with Puerto Rican records to help track down the necessary documents and information.

3. If you believe there may have been misconduct in the handling of the estate, you could consider contacting the Puerto Rico Department of Justice for guidance.

Remember to gather as much information as possible about your grandmother, the estate, and any known details of the sale before contacting these agencies. This will help streamline your research process.

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