Every so often I browse various states unclaimed property websites for my clients. This week I was able to recover 2 clients over $3500 of their own money just sitting in the state treasurer’s office.
Companies and organizations are required to send unclaimed paychecks, utility deposits, forgotten bank accounts, life insurance and any other unclaimed money to the state. The states now hold billions of dollars of unclaimed property.
Years ago I found a client $40,000 worth of unclaimed stock, just when he was on the verge of bankruptcy. Needless to say it was a huge help. That was a unique case of demutualized stock. However, I also had another client “find” $100,000 in life insurance proceeds that had been sitting in the state treasury for over 10 years!
Usually it’s just a forgotten utility deposit or a case of a name misspelling or bad address. Older people tend to have more of these claims. Businesses also may have unclaimed property.
Watch for companies who try to sell you their help in recovering this property and want a large cut. This type of service is regulated in many states.
I do it because I think it’s fun to email my clients a list of money or property that’s theirs, they are usually shocked and pretty happy. I also look for relatives and friends just because I know that many people aren’t aware of this.
Name and address mis-spellings are very common, so I use common mis-spellings to widen the search. Look under a maiden name as well.
To find your state’s unclaimed property division Google “unclaimed property <insert state>”. Look in all the states you’ve ever lived or worked in. Make sure you find the official state treasurer website and not a company trying to sell you something.
Getting your own money generally shouldn’t cost you anything, in my opinion. Sometimes if the amount is large enough and there is difficulty in recovery, you may need professional help. You can hire someone but that’s entirely your choice.
The states unclaimed property division is just one place to search. The link below is a great article which gives more tips and has links to additional sites.