AUSTIN (KXAN) — Flipping through photo albums and seeing pictures of his younger brother, Robert, is a bittersweet journey for Ronnie Reynolds.

Robert died nearly nine years ago.

“He was a very free spirit,” Ronnie said. “His lifestyle was rather rebellious.”

Robert lived an exciting and nomadic life in the film industry, his brother recounted, listing off jobs like electric grip, best boy and roles behind the camera.

But now his family is involved in a production with the state of Texas that they said seems to have no ending.

Months ago, Robert’s family put his name in the “Texas Unclaimed Property” website and found out he was owed about $700 from several institutions.

  • Robert Reynolds (Courtesy: Janis Pearson)
  • Robert Reynolds behind the lens of a film camera (Courtesy: Ronnie Reynolds)
  • Robert Reynolds (Courtesy: Janis Pearson)
  • Ronnie Reynolds looks through photo albums (KXAN Photo/Mike Rush)
  • Ronnie Reynolds looks through photo albums (KXAN Photo/Mike Rush)

Every year, the Texas Comptroller’s Office returns hundreds of millions of dollars in unclaimed property to its rightful owners. The money and property come from things like forgotten utility deposits, dividends, insurance proceeds and abandoned safe-deposit box contents.

The family sent in Robert’s death certificate and documents proving his sister is the administrator of his estate.

“This isn’t about the money,” Ronnie explained. “It’s just that my sister put in this effort to get the money.”

He added, “My sister has gone through paperwork and doing what the people asked her to do, but then they send her back asking for her to do something that she has either a) already done or wasn’t required in the first place per their regulations and their directions.”

He said she received requests more than once for a will, which his sister explained Robert didn’t have.

Five months later, the family still doesn’t have the money.

“I feel that it’s probably some — just some minor human screw up,” Ronnie said.

KXAN reached out to the Texas Comptroller’s Office, which runs the Texas Unclaimed Property program.
A spokesman, citing privacy, would not discuss the procedures involved in the family’s claim, but he did say the payout is on its way.

Generally speaking, the spokesman said it’s not unusual for the process to take three to four months and it can be complicated when it’s the property of someone who has died.

His family is putting in all this effort for a guy, his brother said, who lived life on his own terms and had a “healthy skepticism” of the government.

When KXAN Investigator Mike Rush asked, “What would your brother say about all of this,” Ronnie laughed.

“I don’t think we want to record that,” he said.

To check the Texas Unclaimed Property program to see if the state owes you money, go to claimittexas.org.