Ever wonder why websites like this one exist? Why does the government have much of its citizen’s unclaimed money?
Money goes unclaimed every day around the world. Sometimes it is small things, like most common types of unclaimed monies are returned checks for overpayment of business taxes, overpaid utilities, and other fees. Sometimes it is larger, like life insurance policies that loved ones of the deceased did not even realize existed. Whatever the cause if a city, state, or business cannot find easily access you to give you the money the money ends up getting the title, “unclaimed.”
The United States unclaimed money law has its roots in the British law of bona vacantia, which means “vacant goods”. Under this dictate goods with no apparent owner became the property of the king. Since the U.S. doesn’t have a king they had to create a state government agency to handle this issue. This was done through The Unclaimed Property Act. Every one of the 50 state has a version of this act. The unclaimed property laws required states to create a program to handle unclaimed funds. The function of the program is to:
- Act as a consumer protection agency for those individuals and businesses with lost assets
- Indemnify businesses and allow them the opportunity to avoid the liability and expense of maintaining these assets on their books
- Receive, evaluate, and pay claimed accurately and efficiently
- Promote awareness of the program
What’s Taking Them So Long To Get My Unclaimed Money To Me?
Notice what the act does not say. It does not say actively. It does not demand the state government must look for and contact individuals. Therefore, unless you are on a website (like this one) actively looking for your property you might never know it is there. Your government is in no rush to return it to you, because they make money on the interest, and they are under no obligation to by law.
Since the government does not have to contact you, Unclaimed Money.org thinks it is worth celebrating states that we come across who are going above and beyond to reunite citizens with their property.