Each year billions of dollars worth of unclaimed stock certificates, bank accounts, dividends, outstanding checks, and other proceeds are turned over to state tax commissions because the rightful owners could not be found.What Is Unclaimed Property?
Unclaimed property is any property for which there has been no activity generated by the account owner for a prolonged period of time. Account activity can include checking your balance, withdrawing funds or depositing funds. If no such activity occurs within a specified period of time, the property is presumed abandoned.Who Is a Holder?
Holders are the current entities in possession of the property that has been unclaimed. Holders can include banking institutions, insurance companies, hospitals, business corporations, governmental entities, and merchants.How Long Are Unclaimed Property and Assets Held?
Once funds are submitted to the state commission by holders, they are held in a perpetual trust fund until the owner can be found or an heir claims ownership.How Do Holders Know when to Report Unclaimed Property?
The duty to report and submit unclaimed property is triggered when there has been no owner generated activity for a specified period of time.How Can I Recover Unclaimed Property?
An owner or heir may recover the property by filing a claim with the state tax commission. To recover, the claimant must submit appropriate documentary evidence to establish his or her relationship with the reported owner. When the claims process has been completed and approved, the unclaimed property is given to the rightful claimant.What Legal Issues Should a Business Worry About?
States take a proactive approach by implementing unclaimed property audits instead of waiting for the holders of unclaimed property to file reports and submit the property. For corporations, these unclaimed property audits can lead to financial liabilities and, in some ways, can be much more difficult than tax audits.Should I Consult an Attorney for My Unclaimed Property Issues?
Reclaiming unclaimed property can sometimes be difficult and complicated. An experienced property lawyer can help you take the necessary steps to reclaim your property. A property attorney can also represent you if you need to go to court to reclaim your property.- See more at: http://www.legalmatch.com/law-library/article/unclaimed-property-lawyers.html#sthash.d1PbkUNx.dpuf
Billions of dollars. That's the amount of unclaimed money in the United States waiting to be given back to the rightful owners. The money includes forgotten apartment security deposits, uncashed overtime checks and lost insurance refunds, and it's sitting there, waiting for you.
Banks and other businesses are required to turn unclaimed money over to the states for safekeeping. The 50 states plus the District of Columbia have set up a free website you can use to see whether there are any forgotten funds in your name.
"Good Morning America" decided to try it out.
At the crossroads of America, in New York City's Times Square, we set up our "GMA" unclaimed money headquarters.
Soon, we are in business and I am either a hero or a zero.
At first, we are sweating -- actually freezing -- as we come up with nothing. Nada.
But then, along comes a lucky lady.
Motorola owes her money and the state of New York is sending a check.
It's important to check every state where you have lived. And every name you've ever lived under. Not all state websites tell you how much money you have coming.
Thirty-two minutes into our experiment, we hit a streak.
We found modest amounts of money for several people in a row.
Then a woman approached us who suspected there was unclaimed money in her husband's name. Sure enough, there were funds waiting for him from sort of unused cashier's check. And we suspected the dollar amount was high because the state of New York wasn't willing to blindly send a check. Instead, the state wanted the couple to submit a notarized affidavit to claim their funds.
In a day's work, we conducted 25 searches found missing money in seven of the cases.
Click HERE for links to sites where you can search for missing money.
There are billions of dollars waiting to be claimed. Fortunately, searching to see if some of that money belongs to you is easy, thanks to the Internet. Most unclaimed money is held by the states but some is housed with federal agencies. In both instances, the government is earning interest on your money. Here's how you can search to claim what's rightfully yours:
Miscellaneous Money If you are searching for things such as forgotten apartment security deposits, uncashed overtime checks, lost insurance refunds or abandoned safe deposit boxes, your first stop is the states. The National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA) has set up a free website at www.unclaimed.org that will link you to the appropriate department in your state that holds the funds.
Unclaimed Savings Bonds It's easy for savings bonds to go unclaimed because they take 30 to 40 years to mature. That's why the Treasury Department has set up a simple search website, available HERE, where you can find forgotten bonds by typing in your social security number. Certain bonds are not listed online and require a hand search. You can read about them at the same Treasury link.
Federal Tax Refunds
Everybody looks forward to getting an income tax refund check, but if yours didn't arrive, what do you do? The IRS now provides a "Where's my Refund?" feature on its website. You can look up your missing check by entering the amount you are owed, plus your social security number. CLICK HERE.
Lost Life Insurance Policies
The proceeds of lost life insurance policies may turn up in your state search. If not, and you suspect you are the beneficiary of a loved one's lost life insurance policy, you can hire a company called MIB Solutions to search for you. MIB is a private company that houses life insurance application information for much of the industry. It costs $75 to search. Go towww.policylocator.com for more information.
Failed Bank Accounts
If you didn't collect your money when your bank went under, chances are your account was insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). The good news, in that case, is the FDIC is holding your money, and you can find out HERE.
Failed Accounts In a Credit Union
If your money was in a credit union as it failed, visit the National Credit Union Association (NCUA) HERE to track down your money.
If your company still exists, or has been bought out, you need to approach the company directly. If you are owed a pension from a company that went under, there is a federal agency, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), that safeguards private pensions. You can track down your pension HERE on the PBGC website.
The Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), is the Federal agency charged with making sure retirement money is reunited with its rightful owners. The EBSA sometimes even sues to seize retirement money. You can utilize the agency's services by clicking HERE.
Sometimes when people leave a job, they leave behind a 401(k) as well. If the company goes out of business, that only compounds the confusion. Fortunately, companies that administer 401(k) plans have teamed up to create a search engine you can use to track down your 401(k).
Unclaimed property statutes classify financial assets as dormant, unclaimed and abandoned when contact with the owner or heir is lost. This often happens due to name changes after marriage or divorce, an unreported change of address or expired postal forwarding order, incomplete or illegible records, and following an untimely death.
When owners or rightful heirs fail to claim a forgotten asset over a specified number of years known as the dormancy period, those left holding the abandoned funds: banks, stock brokers, utilities, employers, life insurance companies and government agencies themselves - transfer custody to an unclaimed money trust account in a legal process known as escheat. Here this lost cash awaits your claim.
The state of New York currently holds $13 billion in unclaimed cash. California and Texas abandoned property adds $14 billion more. But this isn't just a big state phenomenon. Local governments recently collected $23 billion worth of forgotten money, of which less than $1 billion was reclaimed. The U.S. federal government holds even more, including $17 billion in unredeemed savings bonds, and hundreds of billions of unclaimed dollars in IRS refunds, retirement and Social Security checks that went undelivered or weren't cashed.
Millions of family members are totally unaware they’re entitled to collect missing moneys owed deceased relatives, who passed on without leaving an updated will or complete financial records. It's estimated 25% of life insurance policies are never paid, because it's up to heirs to notify the underwriter when a policyholder dies. The same is true for pensions and retirement accounts - little effort is made to find lost beneficiaries and missing heirs.
● You must initiate a search for unclaimed money - holders of unclaimed funds generally will not contact you.
Last year 2.5 million citizens successfully claimed over $2 billion. The record payout: $6.1 million. Act now!
|► Life Insurance & Unclaimed Inheritances: Unclaimed Life Insurance II Missing Inheritances II Lost Heirs|
|► Savings: Bank Accounts II Credit Union Accounts II Safe Deposit Boxes II CD Certificates of Deposit II Uncashed Checks II Postal Money Orders|
|► Investments: U.S. Savings Bonds II Stock, Bonds & Mutual Funds II Postal Savings Bonds|
|► Retirement Accounts & Pensions: IRA Accounts II 401k Plans II Pension Benefits II Government Pension II Railroad Retirement Benefits|
|► Government Payments: Social Security II IRS Refunds II HUD Refunds II Indian Trust Funds II Child Support II Bankruptcies II VA Benefits|
|► Royalties & Residuals: Mineral Royalties II Musician Royalties II Screen Actor Residuals II Author Royalties II Gift Card Refunds II Rebate Checks|
|CONSUMER ALERTS Unclaimed Money: Think it couldn't be you? ... Think again!|
|Savings Bonds||$17 billion in unclaimed US Savings Bonds|
The value of unclaimed US Savings Bonds that have matured and stopped paying interest currently exceeds $17 billion. No effort is made to locate the missing - owners and family members of deceased relatives must initiate a search. Savings Bond Search
|Life Insurance||Missing life insurance beneficiaries & heirs ...|
One in four life insurance policies go unclaimed on death of the insured, because family members aren't always aware a policy exists, or don't know how to track it down. Unclaimed Life Insurance Policy Search
|IRA Accounts||Forgotten IRA s - Individual Retirement Accounts|
50 million Americans have invested in IRAs. If withdrawals are not made by age 70½, or in some cases 59½, Individual Retirement Accounts may be considered unclaimed and abandoned. Unclaimed IRA Search
Unclaimed 401k pension plans
Each year, $850 million in 401(k) retirement plan assets owed employees of companies that have gone bankrupt or ceased operations go unclaimed. Families of deceased workers forget to claim billions more. Missing 401(k) Search
|Missing Inheritances||Are you heir to unclaimed property or an unknown inheritance?|
Trustees are holding billions in unclaimed money and forgotten property owed relatives of deceased family members who can't be found because they've moved or changed name after marriage or divorce. Missing Inheritance Search
|Uncashed Checks||Lost, destroyed or uncashed checks|
Failure to cash or deposit a check does not terminate your right to the funds and the issuer's responsibility to pay. This is true even if a check specifies an expiration date. Uncashed Checks
|Life Insurance Policy Payouts||MetLife, Prudential, MONY and John Hancock policyholders and heirs|
MetLife, Prudential, Mutual of New York and John Hancock policyholders and heirs may be eligible to claim cash and/or stock after the recentdemutualization of these and twenty other major life insurance companies. Unclaimed Mutual Life Insurance Policy Benefits
|Pension Benefits||$133 million in unclaimed pension benefits|
32,000 missing workers are eligible to claim $133 million in unclaimed pension benefits from bankrupt companies with terminated defined-benefit employee pension plans. Unclaimed Pension Search
|Bank Accounts||IRA s, CD s and savings accounts at FDIC insured banks that have closed|
Over 400 banks closed their doors in the last four years, including the largest ever, Washington Mutual (WaMu). Depositors may collect insurance proceeds - up to $250,000 per account - but time limits may apply. Bank Account Search
|Safe Deposit Boxes||Trace a missing safe deposit box|
Each year thousands of bank safe deposit boxes are forgotten or abandoned by owners and heirs. If the box rent is not paid, the contents may be auctioned off by custodians. Safe Deposit Box Search
|Stocks and Bonds||Trace a missing safe deposit box|
The SEC estimates 3 million lost stockholders are entitled to unclaimed stock worth $10 billion. $500 million in stock dividends and bond interest checks are not cashed each year. Stock Search
|Veterans||Unclaimed veteran benefits search|
Veterans benefits due military personnel frequently go unclaimed. Often overlooked are disabled veteran payments, veteran death benefits and burial allowances, veteran life insurance, and military back pay. Veterans Benefits Search
|Child Support Payments||$750 million in unclaimed child support|
States collect billions of dollars annually in court-ordered child support. Three-quarters of a billion dollars have gone undistributed & unclaimed, due to incorrect address information on the custodial parent. Unclaimed Child Support
|Native Americans||Native American Indian Trust Funds IIM Settlement - Cobell v. Salazar|
On November 30, 2010, Congress approved a class action lawsuit settlement authorizing $3.4 billion in compensation owed to over 500,000 Native American Indians. Indian Money Search
|HUD Refunds||HUD refunds|
HUD is holding hundreds of millions of dollars in unclaimed refunds owed former homeowners whose homes were sold or foreclosed on, but failed to provide a new address after the move. HUD Refund Search
|Railroad Retirement||$8 billion annually in lost, forgotten or unused gift cards|
The Railroad Retirement Trust Fund holds $18 billion. Currently 818,000 railroad retirees and heirs receive benefits, but five percent of railroad employee addresses on file are not current Railroad Retirement Benefits Search