We all know the excitement when you discover forgotten money in an old pair of jeans or jacket pocket. Similar to forgotten money, about one in seven people in the United States have unclaimed property. This refers to any money, assets or property that have not yet been claimed by their rightful owner. Every state in the U.S. keeps a record of unclaimed property, so people have the opportunity to collect it later. 

Here is what you need to know when searching for unclaimed property.

What types and how much unclaimed property is still out there?

According to the state treasury, over $640 million has been returned to individuals since the unclaimed property program began in 1987. But there are still billions of dollars in unclaimed assets today. The most common types are:

  1. Overpayment for goods/services
  2. Uncashed payroll checks or dividends when employees change jobs or relocate
  3. Inactive savings accounts

How do you claim unclaimed property?

If you believe you have unclaimed property, here are some tips to begin the process of claiming it.

  1. To start, MissingMoney.com is a database allowing you to view any unclaimed property by simply searching your name and state.
  2. Claims cannot be based on name alone; you are required to establish your relationship with the source of the funds or property owed to you.
  3. After filing a claim and submitting supporting documentation, you will be given a claim number to track its status.
  4. There is no additional charge to search for unclaimed property unless you hire a third party to claim the property on your behalf.

Additionally, there are circumstances where you can file for unclaimed money or property from deceased relatives. To receive your inheritance:

  1. You must confirm the existence of unclaimed property in your deceased relative’s name.
  2. You need to prove you are legally entitled to these unclaimed assets.
  3. Another helpful resource is The National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators, which allows you to search for any unclaimed inheritance or property. 

How to prevent your property from going unclaimed.

It’s safe to say everybody wants immediate access to their money, assets and property. To prevent your property from going unclaimed:

  1. Make sure to fill out an Official USPS Change of Address Form whenever you move to ensure you receive all your mail at the correct address.
  2. Changing your official address ensures you will receive all important documents such as a final paycheck from a job or the remaining deposit on a prior residence.
  3. When available, sign up to receive insurance payouts, dividends or final checks electronically. This will help eliminate the possibility of mail theft and check fraud.
  4. Ensure your checking, savings, IRAs and other financial accounts are active with up-to-date information, including a valid contact number and current address.

For more money-related tips, visit efirstbankblog.com.  

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