Life is busy, it’s just that simple. It can be easy to overlook things, forget things, etc. and money is no exception. In fact, plenty of people have money that rightfully belongs to them that they have no idea they could claim. Luckily, in instances where someone is due money that they forgot about, they may be able to find it again! That’s because it is labeled as unclaimed property and there are millions of Americans across the United States that are due this! About 1 in every 10 people have unclaimed property that belongs to them, according to the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA).
Making Sense of Unclaimed Money
Unclaimed money or properties means inactive properties from businesses or financial agencies. The dormancy period is an official term of that time of inactivity. After the dormancy period passes, the property is unclaimed and the state claims it until the rightful owners take it back. As a matter of fact, the state is legally required to claim the property until the rightful owner comes along.
Unclaimed Properties Come in Different Forms
Unclaimed properties can show up in two different forms:
- Properties that you cannot touch (intangible)
- Properties that you can touch (tangible)
The most popular form of unclaimed properties is intangible properties. That would include checking accounts and insurance payments. However, jewelry and coins are examples of tangible unclaimed properties. There are several kinds of unclaimed properties out there like:
- Deposit certificates
- Savings/checking accounts
- Objects inside of safety deposit boxes
- Traveler’s checks
- Trust distributions
- Customer overpayments
- Insurance payments or refunds
- Mineral royalty payments
- Uncashed payroll checks and dividends
- Money orders or gift certificates (in certain states) that you did not redeem
- Utility security deposits
Locating Unclaimed Money
Thankfully, it’s not hard to find unclaimed property. Furthermore, since there are so many kinds of unclaimed properties, there are different ways to look for them. You can always go through a search function to look for unclaimed properties. You would need to use the official state databases of where you live! The benefit is that these are free to use. While there is no federal option to search across America, state search engines are the next best thing. Through the NAUPA website, you can look for your state’s search engine. Remember that each state varies, which means every state has its own way of claiming these properties. Other than state databases, you can also look for money from:
- Previous Employers
- Unclaimed Insurance
- Refunds from Taxes
- Banking and Investment Failures
- Foreign Governments
To search for money from previous employers, you can do it in several ways. In the case of wages you were not paid, the best place to go to is the United States Department of Labor (DOL). The DOL can get back any back wages from your employer, especially if your employer did not follow labor laws. If you want to learn more about back wages, you can visit the DOL website. Besides this website, you can check out the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC). This search engine is specifically for unclaimed pension related funds.
Two common sources of unclaimed properties from insurance are VA Life Insurance and FHA Insurance. For VA Life Insurance, you can find unclaimed properties through the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) database. However, there are exceptions to what is included in this database. Additionally, there is a possibility to get a refund from FHA Insurance. The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) includes the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). This is why the HUD is responsible for issuing refunds. You can find unclaimed refunds from the database of the HUD.
Refunds from Taxes
When it comes to all things related to taxes, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is your go-to. If you think you are entitled to a tax refund, then you should start with the IRS. To find out what refunds you are owed, you can look through their website.
Banking and Investment Failures
There are many ways to find unclaimed properties. However, three common forms of these kinds of unclaimed properties are from:
- Financial Institution Failures
- SEC Claims Funds
- Matured Savings Bonds
When it comes to financial institution failures, the exact place to look for unclaimed properties depends on the institution. For credit union failures, the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) can help you find out if you have any unclaimed money. As for bank failures, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) can help you look for any unclaimed funds.
If there are enforcement cases where a business or individual owes money to their investors, then that would be unclaimed money from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The SEC website can help you figure out if these cases owe you any unclaimed funds.
The final common source of these kinds of properties is savings bonds that matured and no longer generate interest. If you want to find out if you have money that should be claimed, then you can look it up on the TreasuryHunt.gov website.
There are some situations where Americans find unclaimed properties from international sources. If that applies to you, then you don’t need to go back there. You can look it up online through the United States Department of Treasury to find out if you have any foreign claims.
In conclusion, if there are any financial units or properties that you forgot about for a year or longer, the state will claim the property until you take it back. When the state claims the property, it officially becomes unclaimed money. There is more than one type of unclaimed property out there. If you want to know whether you have unclaimed properties of any kind, then you can use several sources to find it!
Additionally, you should take this as a lesson to keep track of all of your finances. When you keep track, you can organize and manage your finances properly. Furthermore, you should take this as a lesson to stay on top of your contact information, especially your address!