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Frequently Asked Questions
Do you know how to recover your missing or unclaimed assets? Who can help you manage the requirements for claiming your assets? We’ve collated the most common questions we received about our services and other related information.
Who are Rightful Claims?
Rightful Claims is a division of Worthington Clark Pty Ltd, a family owned and operated genealogical research company that has been in business for over 40 years. We have a proven track record with customers in Australia, New Zealand, Europe and the United States of America.
Why has Rightful Claims contacted me?
Following extensive research, Rightful Claims has contacted you in relation to a lost, forgotten or unclaimed asset. You may be the rightful owner and we are trying to reunite you with the asset, or we may be asking for your assistance in contacting a member of your family regarding their Rightful Claim.
What are unclaimed assets?
There are many types of unclaimed assets including shares, bank accounts, insurance policies and inheritances. These assets are currently in the care of a custodian who has lost track of the rightful owner. The rightful owner may have lost track of the asset or may even be unaware that they are entitled to the asset.
How did Rightful Claims find me?
We have a dedicated genealogical research team who have over 40 years experience in locating individuals in Australia and throughout the world. Our research team uses publicly available information and specialised databases to find our customers and commence the Rightful Claim process.
What services does Rightful Claims provide?
We are here to make the claim process as easy as possible for you. We manage all of the communications with the various state and government agencies, we prepare and manage all of the documentation required by custodians, and we keep you informed at every step of the claim process.
What will Rightful Claims need from me?
How long does it take to make a Rightful Claim?
Each case is different. In general it will take approximately six to eight weeks to successfully claim a lost asset once we have received your claim documents. Complex matters such as deceased estates, trusts or superannuation entitlements may take longer. Your case manager will be able to provide you with a time estimate following evaluation of your individual claim and will keep you informed throughout the claim process.
I manage my finances carefully and I’ve never lost anything. How could an asset be missing?
We hear this from a number of our customers. There are many reasons an asset can become lost, forgotten or unclaimed such as death, divorce, change of address or ill health. In many cases, some of our customers did not even know the asset existed.
How can you check if Rightful Claims is a registered business?
Worthington Clark Pty Ltd (ABN 57 002 216 953) has been a business registered in New South Wales since 1981. You can independently verify this at the ASIC Company Search website ASIC Connect
Who else does Rightful Claims work with?
We have an excellent reputation with government agencies, registrars, brokers, legal firms and financial advisors. We have associations with international researchers and lawyers, enabling us to specialise in the recovery of lost and unclaimed assets throughout the world. We are happy to speak with your financial or legal advisor at any time.
HOW CAN AN ASSET RECOVERY SPECIALIST HELP ME?
Rightful Claims offers assets recovery services, a specialised service focusing on locating missing assets, legal beneficiaries and custodians. As asset recovery professionals, we will investigate the details of your case to help identify lost assets held by a custodian and reunite beneficiaries with their assets. We adhere to all relevant policies and regulations in conducting our services.
HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE AN UNCLAIMED ASSET OR MONEY?
If you’re not sure if you have an unclaimed asset from a deceased estate, you can contact the public trustee in the state where the asset is held. In addition, rightful owners can still recover unclaimed money from forgotten bank accounts or insurance policies.
In Australia, inactive bank accounts, which means accounts with no withdrawal or deposit activities for 7 years or more, can still be claimed by the rightful owners. This also applies when insurance policies mature but have been unclaimed for a period of 7 years.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I FINALLY CLAIMED MY ASSETS?
Rightful owners must take note of the following when they finally receive their claims:
- There are no estate taxes in Australia but the beneficiaries are required to fulfil their tax obligations for their inheritance.
- If the estate has income from rental property and other investments, the beneficiary must pay income tax based on the share inherited.
HOW DID I BECOME A BENEFICIARY IF THERE IS NO WILL?
An individual who passed away without a will or has an invalid will is legally known as intestacy. The rules on intestacy vary in every region but the most common rule applied when there are no assigned beneficiaries in a deceased estate is that the entitled relatives will receive the inheritance. For example, the assets will be divided between the spouse and children. If there are no surviving immediate family, other family members and relatives are next in line.
Here is the succession that applies according to the law:
- Aunts and uncles
- First cousins
WHAT ARE MY RIGHTS AS THE BENEFICIARY?
Beneficiaries or rightful owners must be notified by the custodian about their entitlement and the nature of their interest in the will. You have the right to access information about your share of the overall estate. You must also be given all documentation of the entire estate.
Hear from people we have reunited with their assets.
Thank you very much I have every faith and trust in both Linda & Don, their service was 2nd to none so thanks once again and all the best in the future and stay safe.
What can I say, a huge thank you to Rightful Claims for your professional, courteous and timely support locating lost funds... I was a little skeptical at first, but your team have been nothing but exceptional throughout the whole process.
Very helpful trustworthy company, excellent communication even being in Australia and I’m in England all actioned promptly and professionally. Thank you so much to all involved. Would definitely recommend you.
Frequently Asked Questions
ARE THERE RELIABLE WEBSITES TO CHECK IF I HAVE UNCLAIMED ASSETS?
Aside from contacting a public trustee or bank to check for unclaimed assets, you can also check online to widen your search options. You can visit www.findingmyassets.com and locate your missing or unclaimed assets for free.
WHAT ARE THE EXECUTOR AND TRUSTEE OF AN ASSET?
Many of our clients are confused with the terms used for a person or people assigned to look after the estate or assets of a deceased person. An executor and trustee can be a relative, friend or someone that the estate owner trusts. They are legally appointed and have similar roles. The only difference is how they were appointed.
An executor is named by the person who made the will or is appointed by the probate court to administer his/her last will and testament when he/she dies. Their primary duty is to ensure that the deceased person’s wishes will be implemented according to the instructions in the will. The executor must also make sure that the assets will be distributed to the right beneficiaries.
A trustee is a person appointed in the trust document to manage and settle the estate when the person who created the trust dies. A trustee doesn’t need to go to probate court and can reach out to a trust lawyer for help.
HOW DO THE LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT WORK?
Any individual, called a testator, who owns a trust, estate or other assets can make a will. He/she must be 18 years and older with a sound mind. The will must be in writing and signed by the testator with two witnesses. Beneficiaries are not allowed to become a witness or they’ll lose their entitlement.
CAN STEPCHILDREN INHERIT ASSETS?
Blended families are typical nowadays. In Australia, the law on the eligibility of stepchildren receiving entitlement may vary in every state and be based on several factors:
- Age of the child when a parent dies
- Closeness of the relationship
- Whether the child was being supported by the deceased
HOW DO I KNOW IF THE WILL I RECEIVE IS VALID?
A valid will is recognised by the court as legal and binding. These are the conditions for recognising a valid will:
- The testator is mentally sound and aware of what they’re doing
- The testator must sign the will in the presence of two witnesses
- The will must be notarised.
CAN YOU LOCATE A MISSING EXECUTOR OR BENEFICIARY?
Yes, Rightful Claims can help locate the missing executor or beneficiary through the range of estate services offered by our parent company, Worthington Clark. They have an extensive network of research teams and resources to find key individuals named in the will.