Florida Elder Law & Estate Planning Blog

Stories Of Assets Lost and Found

Stories Of Assets Lost and Found

Reports frequently come in from around the country about misplaced, forgotten or hidden valuables found in deceased person’s homes, or in items that have been donated to second-hand stores. Sometimes the valuables are discovered by rightful heirs, sometimes not. It’s a sure bet that plenty of people who are not entitled to what they find are quietly pocketing their discoveries. Those stories don’t make it into the news.

Your takeaway: Please organize and de-clutter your home. If you are prone to hiding cash or other valuables somewhere, be sure to tell your trustee, personal representative under your will, and your agent under your durable power of attorney where to look when the time comes. And if you are responsible for cleaning out a loved one’s house, overlook nothing. You probably won’t want to take a sledgehammer to the walls as some did in the stories below…but at the very least, thoroughly check sofa cushions, the tops of closet shelves and the medicine cabinet.

Some relevant recent stories:


Put Your Feet Up On This Footstool. The Associated Press reports that when Philip Fauth of Michigan passed away in July 2019, his granddaughter Kimberly went through his belongings. He had always been frugal, even paying $9,000 cash for a new roof. After Kimberly donated his furniture to Habitat for Humanity, shopper Howard Kirby purchased some of it for $70. Among the items: a footstool. Once Kirby got it home, he and his daughter-in-law agreed that it just didn’t feel right. Unzipping the cushion, they found $43,170 in cash. An honest guy, Kirby saw to it that the money was returned to Kimberly.

The Bond In The Book. News 9 out of Oklahoma City tells us how a decedent’s saving bond made its way back to its rightful owner. Picking up Norman Rockwell’s America while browsing in a used bookstore, Kevin King found a fully matured savings bond tucked inside. He did some research and discovered that the original owner, Oma Mclain, had passed away in 2002. The co-owner was one James Tober, to whom King delivered the bond. Its value? $19,932. Where the book and the bond were for the eighteen years prior is anyone’s guess.

Under The Floorboards In Minnesota. A 2019 story from KMSP News in Hennepin, Minnesota relates that Andy Rasmussen found a bag of cash under the floorboards of a home. The bag was perched atop a duct and contained about $30,000 in cash. A specialist in renovating homes to make them accessible to the disabled, Rasmussen turned the money over to the charity that had hired him. It’s going to a good cause, but obviously not to the original owner or the owner’s heirs. Who they are remains unknown.