Caren and her siblings Ruth and Jim stumbled upon unclaimed money in the name of their deceased aunt Helen at the Illinois State Treasurer’s Office of Unclaimed Property.
Aunt Helen died in Illinois way back in 1995.
Specifically, the unclaimed property they found was a life insurance policy. It was a lot of money, approximately $84,500.00.
It turns out that the beneficiary of the life insurance policy was Helen’s husband. Edward. She got married late in life. She met him when she went to have some dental work done. He was a local dentist, and well-liked by nearly everyone. He loved his wife Helen. And one of the things he did to protect her was to purchase a life insurance policy, so when he passed away, Helen would have a windfall of money to help take care of herself.
Eventually, he died. But Helen never remarried, and never had any children.
Helen never knew about this policy.
Then, a few years later, Helen passed away, never having received this money.
Now, this insurance money was in the name of Helen at the state unclaimed property office.
Caren and her siblings thought they might very well be entitled to this money.
Helen’s estate never went through probate (a fancy term that just means the court never got involved in dividing Helen’s assets after she died).
Caren, Ruth and Jim were her nieces and nephew. And her closest relatives. As such, they were entitled to this $84,500.00
But they didn’t know what to do next. They all had busy lives, with work, kids to raise, and they all lived out of state.
Every time they called a courthouse, or the government for information, they were given the run-around or no one knew the answer. Most commonly, no one cared to help them out.
That is when they decided enough was enough.
Caren contacted our law firm. We spoke with her and her siblings at length. They discussed the matter with each other, and with their family, friends, advisors and lawyers. And they did some research on what we had discussed.
Caren and her siblings decided to retain us to recover their lost inheritance.
We gathered the paperwork, filed the pleadings with the court, and had a hearing in open court. A few short months later, Caren and her siblings had their inheritance in their hands.
It was Thanksgiving 1981 in Chicago, Illinois. And Ms. Norwich was just entering her lawyer’s office to sign her Last Will and Testament.
Ms. Norwich was a 92 year old woman. She had no kids and was never married.
In her earlier days, she spent her free time traveling. A real world traveler. Hawaii and the South Pacific in the 1950s, Quebec in the 1960s. She eventually found her home in a well-built brick bungalow house in a south suburb of Chicago. Her lawyer’s office was just down the street.
Ms. Norwich lived simply. No one would have guessed that she had several hundred thousand dollars in her name.
She signed a Will that left all of her money to her two best friends; a husband and wife named Joseph and Jeanette.
Ms. Norwich never told Joseph nor Jeanette that they were going to inherit all of her money.
After she died, her Will was filed with the court.
And then 25 years passed.
And Ms. Norwich’s money went nowhere. It was never distributed to James and Jane as Ms. Norwich had wanted.
And there the money sat.
We came across Ms. Norwich’s lost inheritance and set out to see if we could figure out where this money should go.
We couldn’t find her relatives. She had no kids, and no siblings. She was born in France so almost all of her genealogical and family tree records were destroyed in World War II.
We poured through the courthouse archives, and after a few months, we located Ms. Norwich’s original Will.
By the time we located Ms. Norwich’s Will, Joseph and Jeanette had also died. Joseph and Jeanette had three kids, Brianne Amy and Patsy.
It was clear that Brianne, Amy and Patsy were now the ultimate beneficiaries of Ms. Norwich’s lost inheritance.
We sent each of them a letter stating that Joseph and Jeanette were owed an inheritance that they never received. And, that as their children, they were entitled to the money.
Patsy hired our firm to recover her money right away. And then Brianne hired us, too.
Amy was skeptical. Over the course of the next few months, we sent her a few more letters.
Eventually, Amy called us. “I keep getting these letters, so I figured I better call and figure out what the hell is going on” she said.
We told her about Ms. Norwich and that she had left money to Amy’s parents. Did she know Ms. Norwich? Had she ever heard of her? Did she know about this money?
Yes, she did know who Ms. Norwich was. She was a friend of her father’s. Ms. Norwich and her father worked together in the same office years ago. Amy had never met her, but had heard the name. No, Amy never knew of this inheritance.
Then, Amy retained our firm to help her recover Ms. Norwich’s money.
A few short months later, Ms. Norwich’s wish was finally fulfilled, and the money went as close as possible to where she had wanted it to go, to the kids of Joseph and Jeanette.