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Missing Money

Did you know that if someone issues a check to you, but it doesn’t make it to your bank, the check will be returned to your respective state’s treasury department as ‘unclaimed property’ until you rightfully claim it?

Why should you care....? 

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There is over $50 Billion in unclaimed money in the US!

And some of it might belong to you or someone you know!

Stock Exchange
95%
of all claims are filed online
$2,080
is the average claim value
1 in 7
people have unclaimed property
$3+ Billion
in paid claims in the last year

What Is Unclaimed Property?

1 in 7 individuals has some form of unclaimed property waiting to be collected, whether it’s an inactive checking account, missed paycheck, utility refund, or other forgotten funds. Though held by the state, owners still have the right to reclaim their money.

 

With billions of dollars in unclaimed property accumulating each year, it’s worth taking a few minutes to search for any money or other valuables you have forgotten about or may not have even been aware of.

Unclaimed property is any financial asset abandoned for a specific amount of time. Property that is abandoned or forgotten can come in many different forms. Some of the most common unclaimed “assets” include the following: 

  • Checking or savings accounts

  • Investment instruments, such as stocks, bonds, or brokerage accounts

  • Life insurance proceeds

  • Dividends and interest payments

  • Gift certificates

  • Uncashed checks 

  • Refunds 

  • Safe deposit box contents, including tangible personal property

  • Annuity accounts or payments

  • Escrow or trust accounts or distributions 

  • And more!

There are different reasons an asset may become unclaimed. In some instances, property owners simply forget about an account. In others, the property owner may not know about an account or asset. This is usually in the case of an inheritance or investment dividend check. Companies and financial institutions also close, merge or consolidate over time. As a result, accounts and other assets may get lost in the mix. No matter the reason, property owners still have a right to the assets that belong to them.

People Walking
How do you find it? 

MissingMoney.com <- Start here, as this website aggregates all the state unclaimed money websites.

Pro tips for using the unclaimed money websites to find unclaimed money:

  • Use your full name, including any middle names or nicknames.

  • Reverse your first and last name, add your middle name

  • Try common misspellings of your name

  • Try different variations of your name, such as abbreviations, initials, and maiden names.

  • If you are unsure of your Social Security number, you can still search for unclaimed property using your name and address.

  • Search for unclaimed property in every state where you have lived or worked.

  • Unclaimed money can come from various sources, including dormant bank accounts, unclaimed insurance proceeds, forgotten utility deposits, and unopened tax refunds.

  • You can search for unclaimed money in every state where you have lived or worked.

  • It is essential to be aware of scams. There are scammers who will try to steal your money or personal information by claiming to help you find and claim unclaimed money.

  • If you are or were a small business owner, you can search for unclaimed money from your business. Most states’ unclaimed money websites allow you to search as an individual or a business.

  • If you are an heir, check to see if the deceased has unclaimed funds. If you can prove you are the heir, you may qualify to inherit the funds.

Tips to avoid scams:

  • You should never pay a company a fee to help you claim unclaimed property.

  • You can always file a claim yourself for free.

  • Never give out your personal information (such as your Social Security number or bank account number) to someone who claims to be from the government or a company that helps people find and claim unclaimed property.

  • If you are unsure whether a company is legitimate, contact the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA) for more information.
     

Articles About Unclaimed Money:

  1. USA Today Article

  2. TreasuryDirect on Unclaimed Money and Assets

  3. Forbes Article on Unclaimed Money

Additional Places to Search:

1. State Treasury Websites:   Each state has an unclaimed property program. A quick search can reveal if you have any unclaimed money through NAUPA.

2. Federal Deposits:   Ever had a tax refund that never showed up? The IRS might be your unintentional savings account.

3. Old Bank Accounts:   Banks are not treasure keepers. Money in inactive accounts is turned over to the state. Claim it before it becomes part of a pirate’s loot!

4. Stocks and Dividends:  Lost track of old stock or dividend? Financial institutions are obligated to hand over inactive assets to the state.

5. National Registry of Unclaimed Retirement BenefitsYou could have money sitting in a past 401K account you forgot- this site will help you find money being held from prior employers. 

6. National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators: Select your state or province. Each state’s site is a little different, but follow the step-by-step instructions, enter your information, and the database will do the rest.

7. IRS – Where’s My Refund?:   Missing government refunds, overpayments and more

8. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) Unclaimed Funds - Missing bank funds, fees, returned checks

9. Check for V.A. life insurance benefits: The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs offers a search on its site for unclaimed insurance funds owed to current and former policyholders or beneficiaries. The search does not include funds from Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) or Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI) policies from 1965 to the present. But it’s worth a shot. Simply search for your or your veteran’s last name on the VA.gov site.

We look forward to being the guide on your homebuying and wealth-building journey.

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