Lost & Found: Your Guide to Unclaimed Money & Assets

It’s no secret that times are tough, and many people are finding it hard to make ends meet. With rising prices and a decreasing bank balance, you may be wondering how you’ll keep a roof over your head or put food on the table. One solution you may not have considered is unclaimed money. There are plenty of sources of unclaimed funds, and there’s a chance that you’re entitled to some of it. But what exactly is unclaimed money, and how do you go about claiming it? In this article, we’ll take a look at the basics of unclaimed funds and the steps you need to take to claim any money that may be owed to you.

What are Unclaimed Funds?

Unclaimed funds are assets with value that have no owner. This can include cash, stocks, and even property. When an effort is made to locate the owner of these assets, and if the owner cannot be found, the funds are turned over to the government. Every state has its own process for trying to locate the rightful owner, and if the owner cannot be found or if no one files a justified claim, the assets eventually pass to the government.

Why do Funds Go Unclaimed?

There are many reasons why funds and assets go unclaimed. Some of the most common reasons include:

  • Tax refunds: “A tax refund might be owed to someone, but if the government doesn’t have information to direct deposit it, they will send a check. If the person has moved without updating their address, the government doesn’t know where to send the money.”
  • Bank failures: “If a bank goes out of business, it must return all of its customers’ assets. However, some people may not be aware they had an account with the bank, or the bank may not know who to contact to return the money.”
  • Unclaimed pensions: “Some people may not be aware they have a pension with a company, and if the company goes out of business, the administrators may not know what to do with the pension fund.”
  • Stocks: “A brokerage company may have to liquidate partial shares of stock, but if they don’t have updated information for clients, they might not know where to send the check.”
  • Estate proceeds: “If someone passes away and there is no will, the assets go to probate court. However, no one may step forward to claim the assets, or the direct beneficiaries specified in the will may not be able to be located.”

These are just a few examples of the many types of unclaimed property, including inactive stocks, court funds, dividends, checking and savings accounts, and estate sale proceeds. If someone doesn’t register a forwarding address after changing it, these unclaimed assets may be difficult to get to them.

It’s important to note that unclaimed property cannot be taxed while it’s unclaimed. However, if the property is claimed, it may be considered taxable income in the year it’s claimed.

How to Claim Unclaimed Money

There’s a chance you have assets that belong to you that you’re not even aware of. So, how do you go about claiming it? One of the first things you need to do is check the website Unclaimed.org. This website provides links to the unclaimed property program in every state and has vetted all links to ensure accuracy. It’s important to use this website instead of a general search engine to avoid falling victim to scams.

Once you arrive at the search engine for your state’s unclaimed property website, you can start by searching for your name

Reclaiming Unclaimed Money: The Process Once you have confirmed that you have unclaimed money, you will need to start the process of reclaiming it. Here are the steps you need to follow:

  1. Fill out a claim form: Every state’s unclaimed property office will have a claim form that you need to fill out and submit. Make sure to fill out the form accurately and completely. This is important because if the form is not filled out correctly, the claim may be rejected.
  2. Provide proof of identity: You will need to provide proof of identity along with your claim form. This could be a government-issued ID or a copy of your social security card. Make sure to provide a clear and legible copy of your ID.
  3. Provide proof of ownership: In some cases, you may need to provide proof of ownership of the unclaimed property. This could be a bank statement or a stock certificate, for example.
  4. Submit the claim form: Once you have filled out the claim form, and provided proof of identity, and proof of ownership (if required), you can submit your claim form. It’s best to send the claim form by registered mail so that you have proof of when it was received by the unclaimed property office.
  5. Wait for processing: The processing time for a claim can vary from state to state. Generally, it takes several weeks for a claim to be processed.
  6. Receive payment: If your claim is approved, you will receive payment in the form of a check or direct deposit. If your claim is rejected, you will receive a notice explaining the reason for the rejection.

It is important to note that the process of reclaiming unclaimed money can take some time. Be patient and keep in mind that the end goal is to get back the money that belongs to you.

Final Thoughts on Unclaimed Money & Assets

Unclaimed money refers to assets that do not have an owner and are eventually turned over to the government if the rightful owner cannot be located. The biggest reasons why money and other assets go unclaimed include tax refunds, bank failures, unclaimed pensions, and unclaimed estate proceeds. To claim unclaimed money, you need to check Unclaimed.org, find your state’s unclaimed property program, fill out a claim form, provide proof of identity and ownership, and wait for processing. The process can take several weeks, but the end result is getting back the money that belongs to you.

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