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Should You Pay a Fee to Find Lost Assets?

By: Garry Crystal - Updated: 5 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Lost Assets Companies Fees Percentage

Lost assets involves money and there will always be an individual or company willing to charge a fee to trace lost assets for others. But the average person can trace their own lost assets and cut out the fee charging middlemen.

Companies that Find Lost Assets

There are companies that will help people to trace lost assets and money, and they will charge a fee for this service. Some companies will not charge an up front fee but will take a percentage of traced money. But finding lost assets does take time, know how and research skills and companies are charging for these factors. In reality there is pretty much nothing that these companies can do that the average person cannot do. Anyone who knows where to look and has the time to complete the application forms can trace there own lost assets.

Assessing the Possibility of Lost Assets

Most people will have a fair idea of the possibility they may have old bank accounts and shares. Anyone who has moved address on a regular basis and changed bank accounts without closing the old one down may have some lost money. Employees who change their employment every couple of years can easily have forgotten about shares or pensions. Tracing these sorts of lost assets isn’t a hugely difficult task, it just takes knowing where to actually look. There are free to use services that will enable people to easily find lost assets, and many are available online.

Using Online Resources to Trace Lost Assets

The internet is one of the best sources when it comes to tracing lost assets. The internet will be one of the main tools used by companies that charge a fee to find the lost assets of others. Online services such as My Lost Account can help individuals find lost bank accounts through most of the banks and building societies in the UK. This is a free to use service that simply involves completing an application form with name and address details that will be sent to appropriate financial institutes. The banks and building societies will undertakes checks and assess whether the applicant has any inactive accounts containing lost money.

Fee Paying Lost Asset Tracers

There are lost assets trackers on the internet where individuals can search for lost insurance policies and pensions. Online companies such as the Lost Assets Register can also be used to search for shares and investments and dormant bank accounts. The Lost Assets Register is run by Experian, one of Britain’s largest credit reference services. It does cost £25 to conduct a search through the Lost Assets Register. But this is a minimal fee when compared to lost asset tracing companies who will add on their own investigation fees.

Beware of the Lost Assets Scams

Where money is involved there will always be scammers. Many people have received unsolicited emails or letters from companies claiming that the recipient may be due thousands in lost assets. The ‘company’ will then state that for a fee they will recover the lost assets for the recipient. This is a common scam and there is one easy way to spot that this is indeed a con. How did this company actually know that the recipient, out of the millions of people in the UK, has lost assets? The big clue is in the wording of the letter; the ‘may be due thousands’ means ‘probably not’ but they will charge a fee to verify this.

Other Lost Assets Resources

There are a few places that should be checked when tracing lost assets. Anyone who has the time can easily contact these services and make a lost assets search. Most will not charge for the search, although some may charge a minimal fee. This fee will still be less expensive than hiring a lost assets tracing company. Resources to check will include:

  • The Investment Management Association when searching for unit trusts
  • The Pensions Service when searching for lost personal and occupational pensions
  • The Association of Investment Companies when searching for investment trusts
  • My Lost Account when searching banks, building societies and National Savings and Investments for dormant accounts
It is entirely up to the individual whether they wish to pay a company to search for lost assets. Companies that offer to only take a percentage from the lost assets may seem like a ‘no lose’ situation but this does depend on the size of the assets found. Those who do have the time to spare can easily search for their own lost assets without spending money on fees or giving up a percentage of their assets.

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I have been contacted to file for unclaimed property due to death, he has no living relatives, or will.I have been told that I need to provide a death certificate and a 1% stamp fee in order to obtain the LOA.Is any of this the truth.Thanks
Bob - 27-Sep-11 @ 11:01 PM
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