What Is Unclaimed Money
& How to Find it?
Unclaimed money, which may also be called unclaimed property, is not property or money that is just up for grabs. Instead, it is money with an identified owner, but where the organization holding the money or property has been unable to contact the owner. After a certain period of time, which is defined by statute, and varies from state to state as well as between types of property, the organization that originally held the money turns the money over to the state. The state then acts as a custodian for the money until the original owner, or his heirs or assignees, claims the money. If the money is being held by the federal government, such as by the IRS, it holds it as a custodian until the money is claimed.
Finding unclaimed money is a relatively easy process, though it can be time consuming. Each state maintains an unclaimed property registry. You can check for your name on these registries, and, if you find property under your name you can get more information to see if the property is yours. If you believe the property belongs to you, you can submit a claim, along with proof of your identity and of ownership.
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How It Works
While the details vary from state-to-state, unclaimed property searches are generally very simple. You search for property by name and often with another identifier, like your zip code or address. You then get to see a list of properties owned by people with your name. In most states, you can then get more information about that property to help determine if it belongs to you, though a few states only allow public access to the owner’s name. If you believe that the property belongs to you, you can generally make an online claim. During that process, you will be informed what type of documentation you need to provide to prove your identity and/or ownership. Usually, this requires proof of your identification and some type of proof that you reside at or previously resided at the address associated with the property.
You can search by your full name, just your last name, or last name and first initial. Remember to try any maiden names or former married names. You may also want to look for common misspellings!
Many people only look at the state in which they currently reside, but we suggest looking at any state where you have ever lived.
Check out whether your name produced any hits, and, if so, click on those properties for more information.
Search by State
Each state has its own unclaimed property database. Select the states you want to search here. In addition to searching states where you reside or previously resided, do not forget to include states where you might have business contacts, such as where an employer or insurer is headquartered!