How to Find a Deceased's Offshore Account

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Handling the financial obligations of a deceased loved one, and your own, is an overwhelming burden during an already stressful time. In handling the estate, you might need to determine if your loved one had an offshore account at the time of death. If the deceased did not discuss his accounts with you, or leave adequate financial records, you may need to research any additional savings.

Things You'll Need

  • Bank statements
  • Credit card statements
  • Tax returns
  • Travel records
  • Passports
  • Look closely at your loved one's bank statements. Any transfers to other accounts may indicate the presence of offshore financial activity. The name of the bank that received any transfers should be on the statement. If you can't locate it, call the first bank and ask where funds were deposited.

  • Credit card statements are a valuable source of financial information. Check past statements to determine if transfers or cash advances were made to banks in foreign countries, or individuals or companies in those countries. After the initial transfer, the individual or business may have deposited the money into an offshore account.

  • Review your loved one's past tax returns. If interest statements of foreign bank accounts are present with the return, your loved one may have held an offshore account. Many people hold offshore accounts to lessen their tax burden, so pertinent account information sometimes isn't filed with taxes.

  • If your loved one traveled frequently to a particular location, there may be an offshore bank account there. Ticket stubs, travel club memberships and airport receipts may provide clues about the places visited by your loved one.

  • Examine your loved one's passports. If he held dual citizenship in one or more countries, there may be offshore accounts in those regions. Contact his friends or relatives who live in those countries. Ask if they are aware of any banking activity he may have completed during visits.

Tips & Warnings

  • Many banks have online records available for your convenience. You typically need the user name and password to access this information.
  • Make sure that you are the party authorized to examine the deceased's accounts. Banks typically only discuss the deceased's records with the next-of-kin, unless your loved one specified that a different party have access to her financial records.

References

  • Grave Robbers: How To Prevent Identity Theft of the Deceased; Kathy Lane, Minna Vallentine, and Knox Design Propp & Guerin; 2010
  • Photo Credit Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images
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