Did you know that you may be owed money and may not even know it?
Unclaimed property, also known as abandoned property, is money held by companies or financial institutions that have not generated any activity or been claimed by their owner for over a year. Some of the most common examples of unclaimed property are uncashed payroll checks, checking or savings account proceeds, insurance payments or refunds, utility deposits, CDs, trust distributions, and contents of safe deposit boxes.
All states have unclaimed property laws and programs that actively search for owners of lost or forgotten assets. State laws usually prevent property from reverting to a financial institution if you lose contact with that institution. Under law, companies have to turn that money over to a state official, who will then attempt to find you or your heirs. States have compiled databases of individuals owed money, as well as joined national databases such as MissingMoney.com and Unclaimed.org.
Searching either website or a state’s database of abandoned property is free, but some businesses find missing property and contact its owner, promising to tell the individual how to claim the property for a fee. Some of these businesses are legitimate, but if you are contacted by a business offering to tell you how to claim your property, it’s best to contact your state’s unclaimed property office first.