What happens to the money in your company IRA when you change jobs? Most people have money and other assets, sitting forgotten all over the country, and they don’t even know it. This is only one example of the types of unclaimed assets that could be waiting for you.
Unclaimed property, sometimes called abandoned property, mainly consists of financial instruments that have had no activity or contact with the account holder for over one year. They include…
- Checking or savings accounts.
- Unclaimed dividend or payroll checks.
- Refunds or trust distributions.
- Traveler’s Checks, unredeemed money orders or gift certificates.
- Security deposits on utilities.
- Insurance claim payments and death benefits, or annuities.
- Mineral royalty payments.
- Safe Deposit box contents.
Unless you’ve lived in the same place your whole life and keep all your money in an old mayonnaise jar in the closet, chances are you’ve left some type of unclaimed asset behind at one time or another. You may be able to find your lost assets at Unclaimed.org.
What Happens to Your Money?
All states in the union have enacted laws to protect these assets, and prevent them from reverting back to the companies involved, banks, financial institutions, insurance companies, etc. These companies are now required to turn over unclaimed assets to the appropriate government agencies, who will make every effort to find the owners of these assets, or their heirs. State officials are constantly trying to use new avenues and technologies to find these property owners, like websites, cross-checking public records and statistics, and they are also trying to boost awareness of this program through thousands of public campaigns at state fairs and shopping malls.
Where Do You Start Looking?
Start by looking in your own backyard. Each state has an agency that handles unclaimed property, and that agency maintains a database that is directly accessible through a website, unclaimed.org that is maintained by the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA). In addition to the NAUPA website, missingmoney.com works in conjunction with them, running their own website that strives to reconnect lost assets with their owners
To start your search:
- Log on to www.unclaimed.org.
- From their home page, view the map of North America and select your state, province or principality. This takes you directly to the relevant state organization’s web page where you can begin your search, usually just by entering your first and last name.
- Look over the search results carefully, and select the properties that you believe are yours.
- On most of these state pages, clicking “Submit Claim” or “Generate Claim Form” will take you to a page where you can enter all of your pertinent information, like full name, current address, and contact information. Some forms go further, and ask you for information regarding your times of residence in that state or city.
Once this claim is generated, state officials will be in contact with you directly, usually by email, to confirm your information and help you complete your property claim.