You probably think you know where all of your money is. Most people do. But there are $35 billion of unclaimed property being held by state treasuries at the moment (1), nearly $8 billion of which is in California (2). Could some of it be yours?
How Unclaimed Property Works
Unclaimed, or abandoned, property are financial assets or items from safe deposit boxes that the owner has either forgotten about or never knew about to begin with. This can include:
- Bank accounts
- Certificates of deposit
- Stocks, bonds, mutual funds and dividends
- Uncashed cashier’s checks or money orders
- Matured or terminated insurance policies
- Utility and security deposits
- Customer overpayments
- Escrow accounts
- Payroll checks
- Jewelry, rare coins, collector’s items
- Mineral interests and royalty payments
- Trust funds
Every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, Kenya, and some Canadian provinces all have laws regarding unclaimed property. If a business has lost contact with or cannot find the rightful owner of property after a specific time, they must turn it over to the government for safekeeping.
How To Search For It
The government will keep your unclaimed property for you, but they often do not actively seek out the owners. It is up to you to find and claim any lost property you may be entitled to. You can use the following links to begin your search:
- State of California Unclaimed Property Search
- MissingMoney.com does a free multi-state search or you can search state by state on Unclaimed.org.
- California Life Insurance Settlement Search
- US Savings Bonds
- Undeliverable Federal Tax Returns
- Other Sources For Unclaimed Property
If you have lived in multiple states, or have close family who has, it is a good idea to check each state for unclaimed property. It may be helpful to have old addresses on hand or other identifying information. You should also search for property belonging to deceased relatives, especially if you are the heir.
How To Claim Your Property
Once you find your missing property, you have to claim it. This can be done various ways, depending on the agency you are working with. In the state of California, if you are the only listed owner and the property is less than $5,000, you can claim it online using their eClaim service.
In any state, you will need to fill out a form and provide proof of your identification and status as heir if it is inherited property. Depending on the agency you are working with, claims can take up to 6 months to be processed.
How I Can Help
As a full-service financial advisor, it is standard procedure for me to do a basic search for all of my new clients. I believe high quality financial advice covers the small details, like lost property, and not just the big things like retirement accounts.
If you’re looking for a financial advisor that will provide you with detailed, unbiased service instead of trying to sell you financial products, look no further. Call me today at 1-866-587-1230 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a complimentary consultation. I would love to get to know you and see how I can help you maximize your financial life for both the present and the future.