A personal representative has a duty to diligently search the decedent’s records to find all bank accounts, stocks, and other assets of the decedent. A diligent search includes reviewing the decedent’s mail, personal papers, correspondence, and any other belongings of the decedent that may give clues to what the decedent owned. It is also a good idea for a person to leave a letter of instruction to family members saying how such things can be found in the event of his or her death.
However, if something is missed, banks and other third parties have a duty to turn unclaimed property over to the state Department of Revenue. You can search for unclaimed property in Washington by visiting: http://ucp.dor.wa.gov/. Other states have similar unclaimed property departments, many of which can be searched online.