How family or heirs can trace the assets and investments of a deceased family member?

How to track assets of a deceased person and recover

asset tracing  and recover

Not every person is forthcoming enough to inform their family of their assets and investments. You may have invested well, but what happens when someone in your family or you suddenly die without leaving any information about their assets? In that case, your family may struggle to track assets and monetise them. This is why inheritance planning is an important part of personal finance.

Consider the below 5 ways, and your family members won't have to scratch their heads anymore wondering how to track assets and investments.

5 Ways to Track Assets and Investments Owned By a Deceased Family Member

Here's what you can do when you need to track assets of a deceased person.

  1. Look for Documents  - If your deceased relative did not leave behind any investment details, you can sift through the person’s physical files as well as the ones on his laptop and mobile phone. A premium payment receipt can give you the vital clue about the existence of a life insurance policy. Similarly, he may have received emails confirming his investments from time to time. A more organised person may also maintain documents related to his investments, neatly arranged on his laptop.
  2. Contact Financial/Legal Advisor - By searching for documents on your own, you can never be sure if you have found all the investments the deceased person had made. A better option would be to contact the financial or legal advisor of the deceased. Such an advisor could also be the chartered accountant or tax consultant who maintains the client’s investment and tax file. You can collate all such information and get a better idea of the investments made by the deceased.
  3. Check the Income Tax Returns - If you have the deceased person’s smartphone, you can also log in to his or her income tax profile. The latest ITR filed will have information on at least some of the investments. However, this involves changing the person’s password using the PAN and phone OTP, so it should be done by or in the presence of the legal heir.
  4. File RTI - If the family is not aware of all the investments made by the deceased, they can also file a right to information in the local office. This helps find out any real estate property registered in the deceased’s name in the jurisdictional area. This information can also be obtained by filing an FIR at the local police station.
  5. Get Succession Certificate - For most death-related financial formalities, the succession, or legal heir certificate is important. The immediate family can approach the local court, sub-register office, or municipality to get the certificate. This certificate must be produced by banks and other financial institutions where the deceased person had a financial relationship and did not specify nominees. The certificate is required to transfer the accounts to the legal heir’s name. 

Conclusion

The sudden death of a family member can lead to a hectic asset tracing & recovery activity. Some of the investments may also end up remaining untraced, thus making the entire hard work of the deceased person futile. Therefore, it is always important to confirm nominees, declare legal heirs, and update your estate and legacy planning, even when you are in the pink of health.

Also Read: Estate planning – 10 things to do before you die

Not every person is forthcoming enough to inform their family of their assets and investments. You may have invested well, but what happens when someone in your family or you suddenly die without leaving any information about their assets? In that case, your family may struggle to track assets and monetise them. This is why inheritance planning is an important part of personal finance.

Consider the below 5 ways, and your family members won't have to scratch their heads anymore wondering how to track assets and investments.

5 Ways to Track Assets and Investments Owned By a Deceased Family Member

Here's what you can do when you need to track assets of a deceased person.

  1. Look for Documents  - If your deceased relative did not leave behind any investment details, you can sift through the person’s physical files as well as the ones on his laptop and mobile phone. A premium payment receipt can give you the vital clue about the existence of a life insurance policy. Similarly, he may have received emails confirming his investments from time to time. A more organised person may also maintain documents related to his investments, neatly arranged on his laptop.
  2. Contact Financial/Legal Advisor - By searching for documents on your own, you can never be sure if you have found all the investments the deceased person had made. A better option would be to contact the financial or legal advisor of the deceased. Such an advisor could also be the chartered accountant or tax consultant who maintains the client’s investment and tax file. You can collate all such information and get a better idea of the investments made by the deceased.
  3. Check the Income Tax Returns - If you have the deceased person’s smartphone, you can also log in to his or her income tax profile. The latest ITR filed will have information on at least some of the investments. However, this involves changing the person’s password using the PAN and phone OTP, so it should be done by or in the presence of the legal heir.
  4. File RTI - If the family is not aware of all the investments made by the deceased, they can also file a right to information in the local office. This helps find out any real estate property registered in the deceased’s name in the jurisdictional area. This information can also be obtained by filing an FIR at the local police station.
  5. Get Succession Certificate - For most death-related financial formalities, the succession, or legal heir certificate is important. The immediate family can approach the local court, sub-register office, or municipality to get the certificate. This certificate must be produced by banks and other financial institutions where the deceased person had a financial relationship and did not specify nominees. The certificate is required to transfer the accounts to the legal heir’s name. 

Conclusion

The sudden death of a family member can lead to a hectic asset tracing & recovery activity. Some of the investments may also end up remaining untraced, thus making the entire hard work of the deceased person futile. Therefore, it is always important to confirm nominees, declare legal heirs, and update your estate and legacy planning, even when you are in the pink of health.

Also Read: Estate planning – 10 things to do before you die

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