Couple in The Woodlands turns to Ted over unpaid checks after son's death

THE WOODLANDS, Texas (KTRK) -- Rod and Carolyn Anthony's son Darryl died suddenly of a heart attack in April 2018.

"It's not one of those you could ever get over. Parents are supposed to die first," Rod told Ted Oberg recently.

In the midst of their grief, there were all sorts of things to take care of: an autopsy, closing bank accounts, moving his belongings from a family home, and trying to track down a few checks his son was owed. It was a little more than $1,300.

"It was just the principle of the thing. I thought they ought to cough it up," Rod pointed out.

One check was from Cirro Energy, a power company his son used. The second was from the Texas Comptroller's Unclaimed Property fund. Darryl had been scammed years earlier and was never paid the restitution he was owed.

Rod's son had started the process to get the money from the comptroller before he died, but didn't finish it. When the checks came, they were in his son's name.

Leaving Darryl's bank account open until his son's affairs were completely taken care of would've helped, but it was too late.

"We couldn't cash them," Rod explained. "We had his bank account, but we'd already closed it."

Rod asked the comptroller's office and electric company to just reissue the checks. It proved harder than he realized. Rod's brother-in-law, a lawyer, drew up the papers proving he was the rightful heir and tried sending those. No luck.

Frustrated, Rod thought, "I just couldn't penetrate their shields."

Ted Oberg asked "Why didn't you give up?" Anthony admitted he thought about it, but told his wife, "'I'm going to send this to Oberg.' She said, 'You're ridiculous.' I'm going to see what happens."

We called the Texas Comptroller and the electric company, Cirro, a branch of NRG. The Turn to Ted team didn't ask them to bend any rules, just to look into the delay.

After a year of trying, the checks showed up within days.

"Bam. Bam." Anthony told us, "(Oberg) fixed it. I've got my money."

In fact, the companies called Rod the day after we asked them to look into it to explain the delay and called again to make sure the checks were there.

To avoid problems like this in your family, the experts at the University of Houston's Center for Consumer Law suggest the best thing to do is have a will. Some lawyers will do one for as little as $300 to $500. They also advise updating beneficiaries on bank accounts to make sure someone can handle the account after you pass. If you're handling a loved one's estate, a good rule is to keep accounts open for about 30 days to allow checks to clear or come into the account.

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