Registration of Heir Finders
. All heir finders who seek to interact with the Division on behalf of an owner or holder must register with the Division on a form prescribed by the Treasurer. Registration information shall include, but not be limited to, an heir finder's previous business experience and whether the heir finder has a previous criminal record.
- Conflict of Interest. No heir finder shall be allowed to register with the Division and represent the interests of owners if this person or entity performs pre-escheat due diligence work for a holder.
- Posting of Bond. All registered heir finders must post a performance bond of not less than $10,000 to insure the Division against any fraudulent claims that may arise as a result of an heir finder's representation of an owner or holder.
- Heir Finder Contracts. Pursuant to M.G.L. c. 200A, § 13, agreements or contracts to pay compensation to recover or assist in the recovery of unclaimed property between heir finders and owners are unenforceable if made within 24 months of the date the property was received by the Division. An original copy of any agreement or contract between an heir finder and an owner, signed, dated and notarized, shall be included with the initial filing of any claim pursuant to 960 CMR 4.04. Handwritten agreements or contracts will not be accepted.
- Power of Attorney. No Power of Attorney filed by an heir finder will be recognized by the Division for the purpose of making a claim pursuant to M.G.L. c. 200A and the provisions of 960 CMR 4.04(2).
- Release of Claim Forms to Owners Represented by Heir Finders; Payment of Claims.
| ||(a) No claim form shall be sent to an owner being represented by an heir finder until and unless the owner or his/her legal representative has made direct contact with the Division.|
(b) Payment for all claims made to an owner who has been assisted by an heir finder shall be made only to the owner and in no instance to the heir finder.
- Notice to Claimants. A complete claim filed by an heir finder on behalf of an owner must include a notarized original copy of a "Notice to Claimant" form, prescribed by the Treasurer, giving clear indication to the owner of the statutory limit on heir finder fees expressed in M.G.L. c. 200A, § 13(b). In no case shall the heir finder fees or compensation exceed 10% of the amount of the property originally remitted to the Division.
- Fees for Owner Information. Consistent with M.G.L. c. 200A, § 13, owner information for each report year shall be made available to heir finders not earlier than 24 months after its receipt by the Division. Owner information shall be reproduced in a format to be determined by the Treasurer and shall be provided to any registered heir finder for a fee of $75.00 per report year. The fee shall be paid in the form of a certified check or money order and made payable to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. All fees for owner information shall be received by the Division before the owner information is made available to any heir finder.