Families Are Losing An Increasing Amount of Family Inheritance and Wealth As Banks, Oil Companies, Large Corporations, and Other Opportunists Are Taking Wealth and Assets by Texas Family Inheritance Lawyer Jason S. Coomer
Each year hundreds of billions of dollars of family inheritance are being passed down through inheritance to rightful heirs and beneficiaries, however, an increasing amount of family wealth is being lost to banks, oil companies, large corporations, and other opportunists. As a Texas family inheritance lawyer, it is all to common to see a family's wealth lost or stolen.
In many situations, the lost loved one does not have a will and the family does not have an accurate accounting of their loved one's wealth or assets. This lack of information combined with grieving the loss of a loved one and/or relatives living far from their lost loved ones can create opportunities for large corporations to retain control of assets and eventually take the assets.
Banks, Oil Companies, Insurance Companies, and other Large Corporations Will Commonly Create Procedures That Allow Them To Hold On To Wealth As Long As Possible And In Some Cases Keep The Wealth That The Family Does Not Claim
In my practice, I have seen families that have spent years attempting to claim substantial amounts of family wealth from large corporations, but because of difficult and complicated bureaucratic procedures the families have been unable to collect the family wealth including stocks, royalties, bank accounts, and insurance. In many situations, large corporations have found that creating difficult corporate policies and procedures to follow in order to claim the money and assets will often cause many families to give up on family wealth and allow the corporation to retain control of the wealth and eventually take the assets.
In fact, in many instances these corporate procedures will include customer service policies that start out with the immediate denial of all claims regardless of whether money or assets are owed. An immediate telephone denial is effective because it will deter many families from moving forward with a claim for assets and there is often no record of any wrongful denial of benefits or money owed. Other effective deterrents include the corporation that will not speak with the family or provide any information because the family member seeking the assets is not the owner. This often seems plausible as it is often necessary to prove that the owner died and the family member has control of the estate or is a beneficiary. However, there is also a potential trap in these situations, where the corporation will request the family member send all of their documents regarding the claim to the corporation before they can speak with you. The request for documents is effective because some people will send their original documents to the corporation without keeping a record and will have a difficult time proving the claim in the future. Further, it can be an effective stall to keep requesting documents that are hard or impossible to obtain.
Further, in addition to the standard denial and request for document trap, there is typically a standard policy where the customer service representative cannot give you their full name or direct contact information, thus you are typically stuck on hold in a telephone answering system and have to begin the dance anew each time that you contact the company. Further, it is important to keep in mind that most times anything that you are told over the telephone is not on the record and may not be correct. As such, the customer service representative may tell you almost anything to get off the telephone including the standard denial and request for documents then never be available again to verify the information.
Further, it is common that the customer service representatives that make the corporation the most money will typically be the ones that deny everything and are good at finding new and different ways of denying claims. These "successful" customer services representatives will often be experienced in how to deny claims for money and assets, how to send viable claims into repeated stalls, as well as be able to avoid giving information that may lead back to them or allow the family to verify any prior communications.
Overall, there is a clear economic incentive for many large corporations to have difficult telephone customer calling centers and complicated procedures that prevent families from being able to quickly claim family wealth. This incentive will commonly allow the corporation to retain control of the money and assets as well as in many situations allow the corporation to benefit from investing the money and charging fees on managing the assets. Further, if a family claiming substantial wealth can be stalled and delayed for several years this may allow the corporation to eventually take the wealth through fees, accounting tricks, and illegal acts.
These difficult family wealth claim procedures can be an effective strategy for corporations because some families will give up and very few will contact an attorney to seek payment of assets or to file suit to obtain the assets.
Unclaimed Wealth Laws Are Commonly Not Enforced and Corporations Can Often Create Complicated Accounting Procedures To Hide The Theft of Money
After five to ten years of holding money or assets, many corporations will transfer the money through multiple accounts and complicated accounting procedures making the money almost impossible to track. Obtaining these accounting documents can be extremely difficult and understanding these accounting documents can often be almost impossible as much of the information and accounting tricks are designed to hide transactions and to prevent from actual theft transactions from being verified.
Further, the corporations know that it is highly unlikely that a lawful heir will pop up after five to ten years to claim the money or that a state will be aware that the large corporation was required to place a specific account into a specific state's unclaimed property and failed to do so.
Some Corporations Are Finding It Extremely Profitable To Steal From Dead People
Overall, many corporations are finding that if they can create difficult claim procedures for family wealth and complicated hard to understand accounting procedures, the corporation can often steal from the dead and not get caught. With a growing elderly population and an increased amount of family wealth in investments and accounts in large multinational corporations that have customers in numerous states and countries, these corporations can use apparent negligence and mistakes to their advantage to take money from dead people and make a large profit from stealing family wealth.