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  1. #1
    LIZEBUG is offline Junior Member
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    Angry Heir Finder Company charging 35% Fee?

    Hi, Myself, my siblings and Aunt (mother's sister) got a letter from The Keane Organization an Heir Finder company and they stated that they located some assets in the name of my Grandfather. In their "Agreement" it states:
    "KEANE agrees to pay the costs and expenses, including probate expenses, filing fees, processing fees, bonding fees, and legal fees for attorneys that Keane retains, excluding taxes, to update the asset registration on your behalf.

    "KEANE, in consideration of these services, earns a fee of (35%) percent of the gross asset value payable by you when the asset becomes distributable. Keane will be entitled to no compensation and this Agreement shall become null and void if Keane fails to identify the asset. Without signing and returning this Agreement you are not obligated to Keane in any way."

    There are other items in their Agreement, but I only felt I need to state these.

    My family has ONLY lived in California and I have already checked with the State of CA Controller's Office for any UNCLAIMED Property in my Grandfather's name and I did not find anything that amounted to the value that The Keane Organization stated. On the CA website I did find a page called "HEIR FINDER INFORMATION" and it states:
    "An heir finder may charge a fee NO GREATER than ten percent of the property value successfully returned. The fee limit should cover any and ALL services connected with returning property to an owner.

    I spoke to my contact at The Keane Organization and she stated that they CAN charge the 35%.

    MY QUESTION IS CAN THE KEANE ORGANIZATION CHARGE THE 35% or CAN THEY ONLY CHARGE ME AND MY SIBLINGS THE 10% as stated on the State of CA Controller's Office website for Unclaimed Property?

    ANY HELP would be appreciated. Thanks, Liz
  2. #2
    Stevef is offline Senior Member
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    Here's an interesting article on this subject:

    [url=http://www.kiplinger.com/magazine/archives/2004/08/found.html]Found Money - Kiplinger.com[/url]

    It states that the 10% cap only applies to assets in the state's control. It further states that fees have been successfully negotiated down.
  3. #3
    LIZEBUG is offline Junior Member
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    Thanks for your reply Steve. I will check out the article. Thanks
  4. #4
    LIZEBUG is offline Junior Member
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    I sent this email to my contact at the Keane Organization:

    Ms. Kopp, Thank you for getting back to my email.

    Please review this link from the ST. OF CA Controller’s website and CA Civil-procedure #1513.5:

    [url]http://www.sco.ca.gov/col/ucp/holder/rptcycle/2009/finance.pdf[/url]

    [url=http://law.onecle.com/california/civil-procedure/1513.5.html]California Code Of Civil Procedure Section 1513.5 - California Attorney Resources - California Laws[/url]

    It is my understanding that financial institutions need to turn the information/assets over (ESCHEAT) to the state after 3 years of an accounts dormancy. So I am concerned and confused as to why the financial institution did not do this?

    This was her reply:

    Dear ________,

    I can certainly understand your concern over why this account has not yet escheated. There is actually a very simple explanation for this.

    From the holder’s standpoint, the issue on this particular account is not actually an invalid mailing address. In order for the account to enter the “dormancy” cycle and be escheated within 3 years, as stated in the California law, mail would need to be returned as undeliverable to the holder several times from the address of record.

    In fact, as far as the holder knows, mail has not been returned from the address. The issue on the account is that it is currently registered to a deceased party, and this is why it requires attention—not because it is dormant. From a compliance standpoint, the holder realizes that the owner of the account is deceased and their mail is still getting through to the address of record—they have no way of knowing if there is an heir receiving that correspondence or an unrelated third party. After never receiving communication on the account to have it transferred to the authorized parties, they contact Keane as an extra step in compliance to make sure that the rightfully entitled parties are made aware of these funds and work to get the account transferred accordingly. For tax reporting reasons it is necessary for the asset to be under the name and social security number of a living individual.

    I hope I addressed your concern about the holder and the escheat process. Thank you for your attention to this matter.

    Sincerely,

    Lyndsay Kopp - Case Manager |The Keane Organization, Inc.


    Does this make sense to ANYONE? HELP
  5. #5
    Some Random Guy is offline Senior Member
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    Did your grandfather have an e-mail address and does anyone still have access to it? Is it conceivable that he did business with anyone, such as an online broker or internet bank and told them to send him statements electronically?

    How long ago did your grandfather pass?
  6. #6
    LIZEBUG is offline Junior Member
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    My Grandfather died in 1996. He died first and then my grandmother. Everything supposedly from his estate was signed over to my Grandmother. But The Keane Organization says that the asset is under his name, not a trust in his name or my grandmothers. Both my grandparents never used or had a computer.
  7. #7
    Some Random Guy is offline Senior Member
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    Both my grandparents never used or had a computer.
    In that case, this is likely a case of mistaken identity since they would have never had an e-mail address to attach an account to. Add to that the fact that internet-only financial accounts were practically unheard of in 1996, I really think they have the wrong person.

    But if you haven't discovered the assets in 13 years, you are unlikely to find them out on your own. I would suggest negotiating a smaller fee than 35% if you can and see what they have found.

    Are there any other relatives with the same name or initials as your grandfather who have ever shared an address with him?
  8. #8
    LIZEBUG is offline Junior Member
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    No. My Grandpa had only one younger brother who lived two blocks away from him. His brother lived in the house that they both were born in and took care of their mother til she died. He never married. But that is besides the point. The lady at Keane is suck on the 35%, I guess if they want the fee then they will just not get any or need to lower it to 10%, as me and my siblings are NOT budging.

    In the meantime, my Aunt who is in charge of the estate of my Grandmother/Grandpa, I am asking her to fill out another forwarding address card for her parents address and see if anything shows up in the next year, as the forwarding order is only good for one year at a time.
    I will keep my fingers crossed.
    Thanks for all your help.
  9. #9
    Dandy Don is offline Senior Member
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    The only way they would deserve a 35% fee is if they found an asset that is being held by a private source that was not readily discoverable by other means or public record. It is possible that this might be money from another state or something held by a company that does not report to the California Department of Unclaimed Property.

    Visit the website [url=http://www.ripoffreport.com]Ripoff Report: By Consumers, For Consumers[/url] and you will be very interested in reading the 3 reports that come up for the Keane Organization. You also need to check their record with the Better Business Bureau both in California or in Pennsylvania.

    The unclaimed accounts that come into California State Unclaimed Property Database are generally added in timely fashion to the computer databases but sometimes there is a lag time. IF you did not CALL ON THE TELEPHONE to check your grandfather's name, you need to do so (merely checking the website database only gives you older items).

    You also need to check with the COUNTY AUDITOR and the PROBATE COURT CLERK/SUPERIOR COURT CLERK for whatever county he died in to see if perhaps the money is held there in an unclaimed inheritance account.

    Keane's home office seems to be located in Pennsylvania, according to their website. Is it possible your grandfather lived in any other state outside of California during his lifetime?

    In your next contact with Keane, ask them to provide you with a citation of the state law that permits them to charge their fee.

    IF the item is being held by the California Department of Unclaimed Property, you have the right as a potential beneficiary to send the California Department of Unclaimed Property a copy of your agreement with Keane so that California can approve or deny the agreement, and even if approved they or you get to inform Keane that Keane can charge no more than 10%, so looks like you are in the power position.

    DANDY DON IN OKLAHOMA (tiekh@yahoo.com)
  10. #10
    Zigner is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dandy Don View Post
    The only way they would deserve a 35% fee is if they found an asset that is being held by a private source that was not readily discoverable by other means or public record. It is possible that this might be money from another state or something held by a company that does not report to the California Department of Unclaimed Property.

    Visit the website [url=http://www.ripoffreport.com]Ripoff Report: By Consumers, For Consumers[/url] and you will be very interested in reading the 3 reports that come up for the Keane Organization. You also need to check their record with the Better Business Bureau both in California or in Pennsylvania.

    The unclaimed accounts that come into California State Unclaimed Property Database are generally added in timely fashion to the computer databases but sometimes there is a lag time. IF you did not CALL ON THE TELEPHONE to check your grandfather's name, you need to do so (merely checking the website database only gives you older items).

    You also need to check with the COUNTY AUDITOR and the PROBATE COURT CLERK/SUPERIOR COURT CLERK for whatever county he died in to see if perhaps the money is held there in an unclaimed inheritance account.

    Keane's home office seems to be located in Pennsylvania, according to their website. Is it possible your grandfather lived in any other state outside of California during his lifetime?

    In your next contact with Keane, ask them to provide you with a citation of the state law that permits them to charge their fee.

    IF the item is being held by the California Department of Unclaimed Property, you have the right as a potential beneficiary to send the California Department of Unclaimed Property a copy of your agreement with Keane so that California can approve or deny the agreement, and even if approved they or you get to inform Keane that Keane can charge no more than 10%, so looks like you are in the power position.

    DANDY DON IN OKLAHOMA (tiekh@yahoo.com)
    After doing all that legwork with the state...why involve Keane. One doesn't need an agency to collect unclaimed property from the state.
  11. #11
    HomeGuru is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zigner View Post
    After doing all that legwork with the state...why involve Keane. One doesn't need an agency to collect unclaimed property from the state.
    **A: yes, I agree. Avoid the ripoff.
  12. #12
    Dandy Don is offline Senior Member
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    Because the departments of unclaimed property seem to be not making too much of an effort to notify owners because the state wants to greedily get its hands on the money for its own use. They let the money sit their for months and months hoping for the rare chance that the owner might see the listing in a newspaper ad that comes out only a few times yearly--if they don't see it, too bad. If they really cared they would hire professional investigators on staff and subscribe to state of the art databases to let the citizens know about these assets. But since they won't do it, someone else has to go to the expense of searching for owners.
  13. #13
    Dandy Don is offline Senior Member
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    You should turn the tables on them by presenting them with YOUR contract offering to claim the money yourself if they tell you whom to contact and stating what you think is the maximum fee you are willing to pay.
  14. #14
    Stevef is offline Senior Member
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    Another thought. Was your grandfather ever in the military? Where was he stationed?
  15. #15
    Doug373 is offline Junior Member
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    I'm having similar issues with Keane.

    They keep contacting me about nearly 100k in stock they've found in my deceased mother's name ( died in 2002).

    My state ( CT) has no record of it, but there is a $59 elec co refund ( deposit ?). I could claim, and split my brother.

    My mother never lived outside of New Haven county, I know that for a fact.

    What is the angle of this Keane place ?

    CT law says 10% max to a finder company, Keane wants 30-35%, but has begged me lately with offers to take less.

    Why would they bother if there truly is nothing to claim.

    How can I find this asset myself ? It is not on the state's list.

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