Unclaimed property or assets are any types of property that are owed to an individual by an organisation, company or institution. However due to unforeseen circumstances the organisation, company or institution in question is unable to give the individual the property owed to them.
This would then in turn make that piece of property “unclaimed”. When the owed property is unable to be given to the individual that company, organisation or institution they will then give that property to the state.
The “unclaimed property” will then stay with the state waiting to be claimed by the owner. This runs in accordance to U.S policy that dictates all property that is unable to be returned to the individual it’s owed to, it should be turned over to the state’s treasury in wait of the owner to claim it.
Let’s illustrate this with an example;
Sandy works for a retail company and has recently found a new job in a different state. So she packs up, and moves to her new home without providing her previous landlord with a forwarding address. A month later her previous landlord would like to return her rental deposit but has no-way of getting in contact with her.
As a result he/she hands over the rental deposit to the state for Sandy to claim.
This is just one example of the possible unclaimed property exists.
Unclaimed property comes in many different shapes and forms and chances are you have some kind of unclaimed property out there. Combined over federal agencies and states nationwide there is currently over $58 billion in unclaimed property and assets.
Averaged out across all citizens in the US that would come to around $186 per person. The National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA) has annually reported the varying types of “Unclaimed Property” that the state treasuries deal with. These are outlined below;
What types of unclaimed assets are there?
1. Banking Accounts
There is the chance that a forgotten checking or savings account is sitting with your money in it. This can easily happen if you are moving around a lot. Money gets put into a long term savings account, starts collecting interest and gets forgotten somewhere along the way.
2. Royalty Payments
If any company or individual has been using property of yours whether it be intellectual property, or creation of yours, chances are they have been making royalty payments in your name. However if your details are unknown those payments will be sitting as unclaimed property.
3. Uncashed payroll checks
Any uncashed payments or payroll checks that are owed to you from a previous job, or work done that are unable to be given to you will be given to the state treasury.
If someone in your family or someone that you know leaves you property such as a car, boat, or house and they cannot contact you it will be deemed as unclaimed and will be handed over to the state’s treasury.
5. Insurance policy/claims or rebates
Insurance policies could be left as unclaimed property, this often happens when a family member or kin passes away and leaves a policy behind.
If this happens and there is no claim for the policy the insurance company will pass the policy on to the state treasury to be claimed by the next rightful heir. There is also the possibility that an individual might receive insurance money back from an incident but is unable to contact that person.
This will become unclaimed property.
Now that we have an idea of what kinds of unclaimed property there are, let’s have a look at how to look for and claim your unclaimed property. Essentially there are two ways to search, local and nationwide.
Its good to start local and then expand further to a nationwide search. Let’s look at the ways which you can search to see if you have any unclaimed property, and how to claim it.
Depending on your situation the best way to start you search is to begin with the state you live in. Starting your search in your state of choice is a great way to start your search as it will help to narrow it down.
Every state has their own treasury site where you can perform a specific search. Each site may vary from state to state but the basics for the search are the same. The steps are outlined below:
- Use google search function and type in the name of the state you would like to search in, and unclaimed property. For example; “Utah Unclaimed Property”
- In the search results you should be able to find the state treasury site. The URL must always be followed by “.gov” for it to be legit. For example; “mycash.utah.gov” Click on this URL.
- Once the site is open you will see the option to fill in your first name and last name. Fill in the information and conduct the search.
- You will be redirected to a results page. Look for your name in conjunction with your address and the name of the company that gave the property to the state treasury. If your name is there, there will be the type of claim you’re eligible for next to your name.
- There will be a claim button next to your name, click the button and you will be redirected to a page where you can file the claim.
This will help you search directly in your state of choice however if you would like to perform a nationwide search you can search on the missinmoney.com website.
Missing money helps you perform a more comprehensive search across the country. We’ll outline the steps for searching nationwide below:
It is possible if you have moved around or worked across country that you have unclaimed property in states other than the one you’re living in right now.
To save you time with your search you can use missingmoney.com to perform your search. The process is very simple;
- Put the missingmoney.com URL in your web browser.
- Fill in your name in the search box.
- You will be redirected to a page of results with your name in any state where you might have unclaimed property.
- Click on the claim button. You will be redirected to a page where you can click on the relevant link to file a claim in that state.