Easiest ways to find unclaimed funds for deceased relatives

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Nina Pineda has 7 on your Side.

It's a case of lost and found for '7 on your Side'. Thousands of dollars in unclaimed funds, now back in the hands of one woman. The money belonged to a deceased family member.

"My girlfriend said 'pop your name in there,' so we started popping everyone's name in there," said Celeste Imparado.

It was a smart move by Imparato, because nearly six years ago, she watched one of our stories about unclaimed funds, entered her parents names on New York's official website and voila.

"It's approximately $6,000," she says.

She received the money in several accounts that went dormant. Stocks, belonging to her mom and stepfather, both passed away in 1998 and as their only heir, that money was Celeste's to claim.

"They told me, "Yes, I was legitimately entitled, but this is the procedure."

To claim funds for deceased relatives you first have to provide several documents.

Imparato gathered everything she needed to prove she was entitled, but then hit an unexpected roadblock.

"I have to hunt down the executor of the estate," she added.

Even though her mom and stepdad had drawn up wills, bequeathing everything to her. They named an attorney as executor. He must sign off on everything related to the estate. She sent the lawyer a certified mail last year, but says she heard nothing back. We tracked the attorney down, he had retired to Florida. So, working together with New York Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli's office we helped complete Celeste's claim.

She received the money that was rightfully hers, about $6000, which Imparato will use to care for her husband suffering from a stroke.

Some big takeaways. When you search for relatives, first try their last name and a just first initial. Don't forget check maiden names and search different states' unclaimed funds data bases where they may have lived.

Safeguard records. To receive a claim, you'll need death certificates and proof of ownership.

Also, do NOT pay. Filing to get unclaimed funds is 100% free.

To file in New York State, CLICK HERE.

To file for a deceased relative, CLICK HERE.

To file in New Jersey, CLICK HERE.
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