It may be beneficial to check unclaimed property websites on a regular basis to make sure there is not money that you are losing out on. All state treasurers take extreme measures to attempt to find the rightful owners.
Unclaimed or abandoned property are funds or other assets due to individuals that companies or financial institutions lost touch of the account holders. These may be accounts that have not had any activity or contact with the owner for one year or longer. Some examples of unclaimed property are uncashed dividends or payroll checks, savings and checking accounts, stocks, insurance payments or refunds annuities, certificates of deposit, contents of a safe deposit box and others.
There are unclaimed programs in every U.S. state, District of Columbia, the U.S Virgin Island, Puerto Rico and Quebec, British Columbia and Alberta in Canada.
Each state has enacted an unclaimed property statute that protects your funds from reverting back to the company. The companies are to turn forgotten funds over to a state official who makes a diligent effort to find the owner or their heirs. Most states hold lost funds until the individual is found, then return them at no cost, or for a nominal handling fee when a claim form is filed a claim alongside an identity verification. It is free to search the state’s website to see if there is unclaimed property in your name. You may get solicitations to do the searching for you, but for a fee. The process of searching is easy, so it is not necessary to pay for someone else to do it.
If you find unclaimed property for a deceased person you can file a claim if you were the personal representative of their estate.
If the assets such as safe deposit box contents begin to take more space than the state has to store them, then they may be sold at auction and the funds are kept to return to the owner if they are found.
When you find your name on the website as being owed funds, you will not know how much or what it was from until you submit an application. It may be a minimal amount or it could be a considerable amount. Any amount of “found” money would be welcome by most people.
You may be owed money and not know about it. Check out unclaimed property websites for states that you have lived in or done business in. States do everything they can to find the owners of the property or their heirs.