Collect Your Unclaimed Money
According to the National Association
of Unclaimed Property Administrators, state and federal agencies are holding more
than $1 trillion in unclaimed money, stocks and bonds, jewelry, and other valuables.
About one in four citizens has unclaimed property languishing in a state or federal vault.
Unclaimed property includes anything that canít be turned over to its rightful owner
because that person canít be located. A person can become unlocatable after they
moved, or a women may have changed her name.
Unclaimed property may be:
Deeds to property
Public utility deposits
Apartment security deposits
Life insurance proceeds
Sometimes a person leaves unclaimed property because they just forgot about it.
Old people forget about bank accounts and safe deposit boxes. When they die, their
heirs donít know the property ever existed.
Most states require that after holding unclaimed property for five years, it must be
turned over to the state. The states are then required to safeguard that property
"unto perpetuality". However, most states actually auction the property off and hold
the proceeds for possible claimants.
Every state has an unclaimed property office that maintains a list of the unclaimed
property that it is holding. It's now easier than ever to locate unclaimed property
because these lists have been put into searchable databases on the Web.
If you think a passed relative may have forgotten about some property, go to your
favorite search engine and search for "unclaimed property" + state. Check databases
in every state where you or your relatives may have lived or worked. Be sure to search
for maiden names, all variations possible, and misspellings of your relatives name.
You should search these databases yearly because unclaimed property is continually being
turned over. Be wary of the many unclaimed property scams. The scammers require a credit
card number before permitting you to search, then they give you the same information you
would receive from a government site for free.
National Association of Unclaimed
Property Administrators is a free national search site maintained by the state officials
who are charged with the responsibility of reuniting owners with their unclaimed property.
The Treasury Department reports that more than $8 billion worth savings bonds have
matured but have not been cashed. Also, thousands of savings bonds and interest
payments are returned to the department as undeliverable every year. Visit
to see if any of these bonds or payments are owed to you.