Hidden Treasure – America’s Unclaimed Property Hoard
Evan P. Kaplan, CFP®
Kids dream of finding a map to long-lost treasure. As adults, the closest we may come is to our own long-lost assets. According to the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators, one in ten Americans have unclaimed property, and each year, states return over $3 billion in assets to their rightful owners! With the end of the year approaching, now is a great time to search the database to see if you have any money to claim—and it only takes a few minutes to look.
States require organizations to send unclaimed or abandoned assets to their unclaimed property offices after a certain period of inactivity or lack of contact with the owner. For example, say you were the beneficiary of a relative’s life insurance policy, but the insurance company was unable to find you following your relative’s death. The insurance company would send the insurance benefit to the state, and they would file it as your unclaimed property. All you need to do is search the database, find your property, and make a claim!
Common types of unclaimed property include:
- Uncashed payroll checks
- Security deposits (from prior landlords, utility companies, etc.)
- Checking or savings accounts
- Refund payments (tax, consumer product, utility, insurance, etc.)
- Stock/mutual fund certificates and dividend payments
- Insurance proceeds
So, take a few minutes and search the unclaimed property databases in the states where you have lived or where family members have lived (remember to check maiden names and business names) to see if you have any unclaimed assets. You won’t know until you look, and you may even have big bucks waiting for you. Whatever the amount, if the money is yours, the best place for it is back in your pocket! Visit the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators to get started. Happy treasure hunting!
Print version: Hidden Treasure – America’s Unclaimed Property Hoard