How to find Unclaimed Funds

Over $42 Billion dollars in funds remain unclaimed in various Federal and States’ accounts.

In New York State alone unclaimed funds reached over $14 Billion in 2015!  $445 million was paid out in 2015 alone.  According the NYS Comptroller’s office, over $1 million in claims is paid out every day—could any of it be yours?

Where do these Unclaimed Funds come from?

These funds typically come from dormant bank and investment accounts, un-cashed dividend checks, deposits or refunds from business transactions, property sales or unsettled insurance policies.  It could also be from bonds that matured after a loved one or family member passed away, stock certificates or other securities or contents of a safe deposit box.  Some states also collect un-cashed money orders and gift certificates!

Generally, business accounts/funds that are untouched for a year or more are transferred to the State every year.  These are sent to the State of the owner’s last known address.

Some States auction the contents of Safe Deposit Boxes, sell Stock or settle financial instruments and holds the resulting funds in your name.

How does the State find you?

The State makes an attempt to find you or your heirs and return those funds to the rightful owner, typically at no or very little cost.  States try to find you using public data, awareness events and via state fairs.

There are also private companies that try to find you in exchange for a fee or a percent of funds recovered.  Scams are on the rise and it is best for you to check various databases before signing up for any of these services.

What do I need to get started?

You will need to verify your ID and have some information about your family, such as states your family lived in, maiden names for any relative who has passed and any account information you may have.  You will also need to verify previous addresses and additional information.

Where do I check for Unclaimed Funds

You can start with Unclaimed.org (notice the .org).  This website provides information about unclaimed funds and is run by the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA).

Next, check the national database (www.missingmoney.com) established by NAUPA.  You can search the database by name, city or state.  NOTE:  Not all states contribute data to this database.  If you live in a state that does not, you will need to check the State’s database.  Individual State websites can be found here:  State’s websites.

Check for funds in every state where you or your family have lived, any business that was owned and sold, any trusts that may have been setup, old pension plans and insurance policies.

How can I stay current with my accounts?

For security reasons, financial and insurance companies do not forward mail that is returned.  It is best that you:

  • Cash checks for dividends, wages or settlements right away
  • Contact every institution with which you have an account unless you are receiving current statements and/or transacting with them regularly
  • Keep your address and marital status updated with your institutions
  • Keep your beneficiaries updated
  • Maintain records of your accounts using software such as com which helps you enter and manage information and upload documents.

Check out these additional resources:

Top 12 Websites to check for Unclaimed Funds

Why freezing your credit is a good idea

www.jazmine.com

 

Sources:  National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA), Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC)

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