Albert E. Bergen, CPA

Unclaimed Property

Treasure chest in sand.

Unclaimed property is like buried treasure.

One of my favorite personal finance websites – ClarkHoward.com – recently did a brief story about unclaimed property and mentioned www.missingmoney.com. This is also one of my favorite sites because I’ve been able go on to it and find unclaimed property that’s belonged to clients, friends, and family members. Even my own parents had unclaimed property that I was able to find through the site.

Most states have laws that require certain deposits and uncashed checks to eschew to the state for safe-keeping after a certain period of time.  They don’t always do it, but many states require landlords to sell abandoned property and turn the proceeds over to the state.  Forgotten life-insurance policies, insurance refunds, policy dividends, and childhood savings accounts can all end up in the hands of the state.

States usually can’t use this money for their own purposes, though they may use the interest on it.  The state is supposed to keep these funds and return them to their proper owners, or the owners’ heirs.  One way that they do that is by maintaining a searchable database of all of the unclaimed property that the state is holding onto. Missing Money is just a website that ties into many of the states’ unclaimed property listings,

It’s well worth keying your name and state to find out if there’s unclaimed money with you name on it. I’ve seen people with unclaimed pay checks, life insurance proceeds, and utility payments all get their money through this site.

 

photo credit: Buried Treasure via photopin (license)

 

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