Many times, the Personal Representative of an Estate does not have a good understanding of the true nature and scope of the Decedent’s assets. This typically occurs when the Personal Representative is not the surviving spouse of the Decedent; rather, he or she may be a child or sibling of the Decedent, and therefore, not privy to the intricacies of the Decedent’s finances.
This is one of the reasons why, at Battaglia, Ross, Dicus & McQuaid, PA, we pay careful attention when reviewing financial statements and other Estate-related documents in every probate administration, which may provide clues of other assets belonging to the Estate.
One such instance happened recently, wherein we were administering an Estate and reviewing the Decedent’s bank account statements. We noticed an automatic withdrawal with a description indicating that it was a payment for a life insurance policy. We successfully tracked down the life insurance company and determined that, lo and behold, the Decedent owned a policy on his life, which the Decedent’s heirs did not know about.
This timely discovery resulted in hundreds of thousands of additional dollars to the beneficiaries, who were absolutely elated about the unexpected windfall!