Can I obtain a short certificate regarding unclaimed property?

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Can I obtain a short certificate regarding unclaimed property?

My great grandfather passed away 10 years ago and recently I discovered he has unclaimed property. The only way for me to claim the property is if I have a short certificate. He did have a Will although I’m not certain if it was probated or not. If I was not listed as an executor or administrator of his Will am I able to obtain a short certificate to claim the unclaimed property?

Asked on May 14, 2011 under Estate Planning, Pennsylvania

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Well, yes you can, provided that none was already issued to another party in a probate proceeding,  The certificate is issued by the Registrar of Wills and is evidence that a person hasbeen appointed as the fiduciary of someone's estate.  A fiduciary appointmnt has great responsibility and can open you up to liability if you fail to follow the law in the distribution of the proceeds of someone's estate.  What you need to do first is to go down tp the probate court in the county in which your grandfather resided at the time of his death and see if there was a petition submitted to the court.  If there was then the proceeding has to be reopened in order to get a current certificate to submit to the State.  If there was not it may be a great expense to do this for the money, but ask about a small estate proceeding.  But remember: you have to distribute the funds as per the intestacy statute and not keep them.  Good luck.


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