Do I have to go through probate to obtain unclaimed money being held by the government?

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Do I have to go through probate to obtain unclaimed money being held by the government?

My Mom past away in 01/08; she resided in CT. Recently, I found out that she has some unclaimed property being held through the US Treasury Department. It is only $1330. Since I’m her daughter and the only living immediate family member, I asked how I can get this money. They told me what I’d need but also said that I would need to call the probate office in her town. Nothing ever went through probate when she past because she didn’t really have anything. She quickclaimed her home over to me 4 years before she past away. Will I have to go through a lot of paper work now?

Asked on January 28, 2011 under Estate Planning, Pennsylvania

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am sorry for your loss.  Since you have not stated the requirements that you were told and why you were told to contact the probate office, I am going to assume that some formal acknowledgement is needed to obtain the funds. Generally speaking, you will need something to show that you are the only party entitled to inherit from your Mother's estate (beneficiary) and her only heir at law.   States recognize that some people die with very little assets in their name.  So they have whatis known as a Small Estate proceeding. In Connecticut it is any proceeding under $40,000.  You qualify here.  In this matter it is not usually necessary for you to go through the trouble of being appointed as the estate's personal Representative (administrator or  even probate the Will).  But if you need something to collect the funds the Court may only require an affidavit from you or someone who knew your family well to verify that you are the next of kin and entitled to all the assets under the law to issue you the required documentation to collect the funds.  Call the court and explain.  Good luck.


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