Millions of people have unclaimed funds and don't even realize it.
According to the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators, states handed out more than $14 billion in missing money from 2013 to 2017. You could be one of the lucky people to find unclaimed money, but you have to submit a claim to do so.
What is Missing Money?
Funds or assets become categorized as "missing money" or "unclaimed money" when the rightful owner cannot be located. Legally, such funds must be turned over to the government after a specific amount of time has passed, usually a year.
The funds could be with a financial institution or a company that has been unable to contact the money's owner for at least one year. The most common sources of missing money include:
- Uncashed payroll checks
- Inactive stocks
- Court funds
- Dividend payments
- Estate proceeds
- Checking and savings accounts
- Unused gift cards
- Uncollected sales commissions
- Life insurance proceeds
- Tax refunds
These are just a few of the types of money that may be classified as "unclaimed" in your name.
How to Determine if There's Missing Money in Your Name
So how do you find unclaimed money in your name? It's easy to search using the online services below:
- Money Finder is a service that helps you find unclaimed money and assets that may be available in your name
- Check out www.missingmoney.com. All you have to enter is your last name, city, and state. If there are unclaimed funds in your name, they'll show up in a list here. If you agree that the funds belong to you (it's your name and you did business with the company listed), you can click 'claim the funds' and follow the steps.
- Visit www.unclaimed.org. Click on the state that you live (or any state you lived) and it will bring you to your state's unclaimed funds treasury website. You'll enter your last name, city, state, and zip code and see a listing of money that they may be holding in your name.
- Visit the National Registry of Unclaimed Retirement Benefits if you've ever had a retirement account at an old employer. If you didn't roll the funds over, you may still have unclaimed funds sitting there. You do have to provide your social security number to access the information.
- Visit www.demutualization-claims.com if you think you may have life insurance benefits in your name that you never received. Because it's up to the beneficiaries to let the insurance company know the insured passed away, some policies get overlooked and unpaid.
Proving Your Right to Unclaimed Money
Each state has its own identification requirements. Follow the instructions on your state's treasury website carefully. Initially, you'll stake a claim for the funds, but the State Treasury Department won't deliver the funds until they have proven that you are who you say you are.
Typically, you'll need to prove your state-issued ID, proof of your current address, and social security number. If you are trying to claim property for a deceased person, you'll need to provide the death certificate and proof of the relationship that entitles you to the funds.
It's not too tricky to find unclaimed money, thanks to the internet. Just type in your name and location to take the first step. Should you find funds in your name, you'll need to do a bit of legwork to get it. While it may not make you rich, it could be a great start to that emergency fund you've meant to build.