It should be common knowledge that people know that their state might hold claimable money or property. It could be an uncashed check, stocks, bonds, or the contents of a safe. I discovered this when I came across a link to check unclaimed property on my state government website. It was free to check out – and fast. I learned that my state has several hundred dollars in claimable items.
States do not keep these unclaimed items secret. South Carolina, for example, is running a “Matchelor” social media blitz to put residents of the state in touch with what is owed to them. Total value of unclaimed property is high New York City holds $ 16.5 billion in lost or forgotten property, while California holdings are valued at some $ 10.2 billion. Florida returned claimed property worth $ 328 million last year only. The average claim paid was $ 1,780 in 2019, according to the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators.
It only takes a few minutes to verify and a few more seconds to claim the item your state owns. We will explain how. To learn more about money matters, check out the extensionuntil and how . This story was recently updated.
Unclaimed property that your state may hold
States may hold a range of your items that you can claim, including: forgotten savings or checking bank account, dividend, stocks, bonds, credit balance, cash refund or settlement, deposit collateral, an uncashed cashier’s check, money order, insurance benefits, wages or the contents of an abandoned safe (including jewelry or coins).
Why your state holds money or property
A business or government office is generally required by state law to attempt to contact the rightful owner of the money or property it holds. When they are unable to locate the rightful owner after a certain period of time, they are required to send the unclaimed item to a state-run unclaimed property office. Some states may say that the property has been “escheated,” meaning that the item has been transferred to the state. The state office will keep these items until their owner claims them.
In most states in the United States, finding out if you have unclaimed property is free and easy. The claim is also free, but may take a little more work, depending on the documents you need to collect and then send to the state to prove that you are the rightful owner.
How to check unclaimed assets online
To find out if a state has financial assets that you need to claim, the National Association of Unclaimed Property Managers provides links to official websites where you can search for unclaimed property by each state, District of Columbia, Guam , Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.
1. Go to Unclaimed.org and choose Select your state or province, or tap or click your state on the map. You will be redirected to the state’s unclaimed properties page.
2. Then you may need to choose a link such as “Find Unclaimed Property” (California) or “Get Started” (Texas), or the search box may be on the first page you landed on (Utah) .
3. Now enter your information. The page may ask for your first and last name, the initial of the middle name, and your city. Your last name will likely be required, but you can try using or skipping the suggested fields to narrow or broaden the results.
You can search 39 states at a time using the Missing Money website, which is approved by NAUPA. However, 11 states are missing from the search engine: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Kansas, Oregon, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Washington and Wyoming. Its layout incorporates advertising in a way that can be confusing, so read carefully.
Another site, FindMyFunds, lets you search 25 states and the District of Columbia at once, with direct links to official unclaimed property sites for states it doesn’t include in its results.
How to Claim Property or Financial Assets in Your State
If your search results show that a state has money or property you own, you can submit a claim to recover it. Each state treats complaints a little differently. Some will allow you to submit your application online, while others may require you to post documents in support of your application. Among the documents you may need to provide:
- A copy of your photo ID
- A copy of your social security card or individual tax identification number
- Checking your current address
- Documents relating to the type of ownership, such as bank statements, cashier’s check, or stock certificate
Note that a State can auction certain financial assets. For example, Florida holds auctions for the contents of abandoned safes. After the auction, owners can still claim the item’s value.
Time limits for claiming your money
Most states, including Florida, Illinois, New York, and Texas, don’t have a deadline for claiming your money or property. However, for some items, such as jewelry, coins and stamps or the contents of a safe, states can auction the property and then keep the product for the rightful owner to claim. Check with your state to find out if you have a deadline to claim your property and if the state will auction the items after a period of time.
Complaints processing times
Don’t expect the request to be processed quickly. The New York State Comptroller’s Office said it could take 90 days to process a claim. The Florida Department of Financial Services also said it expects 90 days for its unclaimed property division to process a claim. The California State Comptroller’s Office said it could take up to 180 days to return the property.
Items you are not authorized to claim
While many states will hold financial assets ranging from mineral rights to the contents of a safe, some will not accept other types of property, including real estate, cars, and unused gift certificates. Check with your state to see what types of property you can claim.
Your state may seize unclaimed money to pay off unpaid debt
Depending on the state, if you have an unpaid debt to your state or local government, your payment may be redirected to pay off that debt. California, for example, allows its Franchise Tax Board to intercept unclaimed real estate funds – as well as state lottery money and tax refunds – to cover debts you owe to a state, county or town. a municipal agency.
Claiming money on behalf of a deceased relative
States also allow you to claim the property of a deceased relative, and the rules for submitting a claim differ from state to state. Typically, in addition to providing documents to verify your own identity, you may be required to submit a death certificate, the deceased’s will, and documents showing your relationship to the deceased and your right to claim ownership.