What Is Unclaimed Money?

Unclaimed money is the popular term for unclaimed property.  Unclaimed property is defined, as “monetary or physical assets which have become separate from their rightful own over time.” Another term often used is unclaimed funds as well as unclaimed money.

What are the most common types of unclaimed property

  • Checks, saving, and other types of bank accounts
  • Gift Cards ( even expired ones!!)
  • Content of safety deposit boxes
  • Stocks, mutual funds, bonds, dividends
  • Un-cashed cashier’s checks or money orders
  • Certificates of deposit
  • Matured or terminated insurance policies
  • Estates
  • Apartment or utilities refund accounts

**This is only an abridged list of the countless types of property that fall into the category of “unclaimed money.”**

How does money and property end up becoming unclaimed money and property?

Occasionally banks, stockbrokers, employers, or businesses have money that they need to return to an individual.  There are many instances when this might happen.  Here are some examples…

  • Utilities:

You pay a utility company upfront for the entire winter’s worth of natural gas.  It’s a warm winter and you have over paid the company.  The company might write you a reimbursement check, but you’ve moved to a new home before the check gets to you and you’ve neglected to leave a forwarding address.

  •  Employer:

You held a retirement account with a company, but didn’t stay at the job long.  You left the company and moved to another state.  You are entitled to the money in the retirement account, but the company has no way to reach you at your new locale.

  • Banks and Estates:

Perhaps you have a loving relative who passes away.  They might have left money for you, but set up the trust fund before you got married and moved away.  The trust managers cannot easily locate you, especially if your name has changed and you have left the state.

Sounds too good to be true?  It’s not

Now you might be thinking, yeah right.  There are no rich generous relatives hiding in my family tree and I know I’ve forwarded my mail every time I moved.  Well, accidents happen and money gets misplaced.  It doesn’t hurt to look. Right now the Federal government is sitting on over 16 billion in unclaimed Treasury Bonds issues since 1974.  The state of NY has 10.5 billion in unclaimed funds.  The states have about 117 million listings for property that is unclaimed.  Statistically speaking, this means nearly every third American is owed money.  Odds are good that you or someone in your family is owed money, so it’s worth taking the time to look for it.

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