Forget the claims that you see in your email telling you that for a small fee someone can “find” money that belongs to you! For those who need to find unclaimed property in Illinois, it can be done quickly, easily and without paying anyone a dime to find it for you. The State Treasurer in Illinois is the custodian of property that is designated “abandoned” or unclaimed.
Types of unclaimed property
Tax refunds, paychecks that were never picked up or cashed, stocks, bonds and safe deposit box contents are some of the types of property that often remain unclaimed. Most financial assets are considered abandoned after an account has been inactive for a period of five years. The one exception to this is that paychecks which are not cashed are considered abandoned after only one year.
Activity stops process
Banks, credit unions and other financial institutions must report assets as abandoned if there is no activity for a five year period. However, deposits or withdrawals to any of these accounts means that the property is no longer considered abandoned so in some cases, property may not be “unclaimed” for extended periods of time. This is especially true with retirement accounts, some people do not have any activity on their accounts for an extended period of time, then suddenly they will make a withdrawal. Accounts with activity are never considered abandoned with the process that is in place.
Finding unclaimed property
The Illinois State Treasurer has made finding unclaimed property easy for residents or heirs of residents of Illinois. A special website called Cash Dash has a database that is updated several times a year with all property that has been reported to the state as abandoned. Since these records are public, they may be accessed by anyone. Users can input a last name and optionally may select a first name and address. It is generally a good idea to also search using any spelling that is commonly used for the last name.
Filing a claim for property
Once a search has been completed, if the party believes the state is holding property that is rightfully theirs, a claim form may be filed. There are specific documentation requirements including proof of ownership, proof of right to claim (in the event of an heir or other third party) and photo identification. Additional documents may be required depending on the type of property being claimed.
Users should fill out the claim form completely, provide all additional requested documents, sign the form and have it notarized. Once this is complete the form should be mailed to Illinois State Treasurer’s Office, Unclaimed Property Division, PO Box 19495, Springfield IL 62794-9495. Claims typically take approximately 90 days to process. There are no time restrictions on filing a claim, the property is held for the rightful owners or their heirs in perpetuity.