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For most families, the idea of being out of touch with a sibling for decades is unusual. Even more unusual would be learning that an estranged sibling had passed away six years ago and no one in the family knew. Stranger still – learning that your brother had left you two bank accounts worth $81,000. One family’s experience holds a lesson for all:  if they are not included in a will or discussed with family members, many accounts go unclaimed. For this family, a scavenger hunt proved worth the effort.

When an 84 year old resident of a New York boarding home passed away in 1994, no one in the family was notified. It had been 27 years since any family members had heard from Louis Passerini, an eccentric who had deliberately isolated himself from his family.

Passerini left behind no contact information for anyone to get in touch with his family to even let them know that he had passed away.

Six years later a search firm contacted Passerini’s two brothers.

The firm had been hired to find his heirs.


Passerini had two bank accounts in New York that needed to be distributed.

All his brothers knew was that Passerini was a career military man and a miser. As a result, the brothers thought there might be more bank accounts out there.

Indeed, after a long scavenger hunt, they discovered that their hunch was right on the money.

In fact, there were many bank accounts totaling nearly $1 million.

DNAinfo reported this story in an article titled “Long-Lost Brother’s Death Leads Man on $1M Scavenger Hunt.”

Not everyone has a long lost sibling with bank accounts all over the country that need to be tracked down.

On the other hand, even the family members with whom we do remain in contact might have accounts they have forgotten or they neglect to mention in an estate plan.

Consequently, when someone passes away it is important that the executor perform due diligence in tracking down any accounts that might have been forgotten.

Reference: DNAinfo (July 20, 2015) “Long-Lost Brother’s Death Leads Man on $1M Scavenger Hunt.”

For more information on asset preservation and estate planning, please visit my estate planning website.

Mr. Amoruso concentrates his practice on Elder Law, Comprehensive Estate Planning, Asset Preservation, Estate Administration and Guardianship.