- What is unclaimed property?
- How can you find unclaimed property?
- What are your chances of finding unclaimed property in your name?
Unclaimed property refers to accounts in financial institutions and companies that have had no activity generated or contact with the owner for a period of one year or longer (depending upon state law). Common forms of unclaimed property include savings or checking accounts, stocks, uncashed dividends or payroll checks, refunds, traveler’s checks, trust distributions, unredeemed money orders or gift certificates (in some states), insurance payments or refunds, life insurance policies, annuities, certificates of deposit, customer overpayments, utility security deposits, mineral royalty payments, contents of safe deposit boxes, and even IRA or other types of retirement accounts.
Financial institutions and companies will turn these funds over to a state unclaimed property department where the funds are held until claimed by the owner. This typically occurs when you relocate, close a business address, misplace a check, etc. It can also occur if you are the beneficiary of an estate and the trustee is unable to locate you. You may even discover forgotten accounts of now deceased relatives if you take the time to search each one.
There are various ways to locate these assets. There are commercial firms that may seek you out. However, you can perform a search for free in a number of ways. For instance, each state has a website for its unclaimed property department, allowing you to search state by state. Generally, one would only search the states where he or she has been a resident.
There is also a website developed by the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA) that provides links from a map to each individual’s state’s search site, Canadian provinces, some foreign countries, and various government agencies. But be careful, as there are also commercial firms with websites that will charge you a fee to do what you can do yourself for free.
What are your odds of finding some lost money? Better than winning the lotto, and it only takes a few minutes to check and could yield some pleasant surprises.
If you have any questions, please give us a call.
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