What is an heir finder or locator service?
An heir finder or locator service is a person who locates, delivers, recovers, or assists in the location, delivery, and recovery of property held by the Department of Revenue (DOR).
Does an heir finder or locator service have to be licensed or registered to operate in the State of Wisconsin?
There is no license or registration requirement. However, effective November 7, 2021, they must follow certain disclosure requirements provided in Subchapter XIII of Chapter 177, Wis. Stats., and cannot charge fees in excess of 10% of the actual value of the property recovered.
Do I have to hire an heir finder or locator service to claim my property?
No. You can search for unclaimed property and file a claim on DOR's website. You can also visit missingmoney.com to search for unclaimed property nationwide.
If you hire an heir finder or locator service to assist you, you must have a written agreement with the heir finder that includes:
- An explanation of the services provided by the locator service and a clear and prominent statement of the fee to be paid , which may not exceed 10% of the actual value of the property recovered
- The value of the property to be claimed, computed before and after the deduction for the fee paid to the locator service
- A description of the property being claimed
- The name and address of the holder of the property
- The signature of the apparent owner or agent of the owner
- A clear and prominent statement that the owner may file a claim with DOR without the assistance of a locator service.
The written agreement with an heir finder or locator service must be submitted at the same time the claim for property is filed with DOR. Without the agreement, DOR will not be able to speak with the heir finder or locator service about your claim.
Note: The agreement is void if the property has been in the custody of DOR for less than 24 months.
How much can an heir finder or locator service charge for helping me with my claim?
If you enter into a contract with an heir finder or locator service, they cannot charge you a fee in excess of 10% of the actual value of the property recovered.
Does the locator service agreement/contract need to be filed at the time the claim is submitted?
Yes, the agreement must be submitted with the claim to be valid.
How does the unclaimed property process work if I hire an heir finder or locator service?
The heir finder or locator service works with you to gather additional information (if needed) to process your claim. Once the claim is processed, DOR will pay you the total amount you are owed. You are then responsible for paying the heir finder or locator service.
All correspondence is sent directly to you, including payment. The heir finder or locator service may request a copy of any letters regarding the claim from DOR.
How do I file a complaint about an heir finder or locator service?
All complaints must be filed with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP).
File a complaint.