Looking for a financial windfall that is legitimate? There is a great possibility that personal property such as money with your name on it is just waiting for you to claim! Annually states return more than $3,000,000,000 in unclaimed property to one in every 10 persons. Lost and forgotten property is considered abandoned or unclaimed. This can include checking and savings accounts, refunds, uncashed dividends, contents of safe deposit boxes, uncashed payroll checks, unclaimed pensions, traveler’s checks, customer overpayments, life insurance policies, utility security deposits and much more.
Many holders and entities such as financial institutions, insurance companies, charities, businesses and government offices have turned over inactive accounts and deposits to the unclaimed property office in each state, per that state’s statute or law. The inactivity time differs from state to state and can be as short as one year. The National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA) states instead of unclaimed property remaining on a permanent basis with entities unclaimed property laws protect citizens and ensure the cash and property owed to them is returned. Inactive unredeemed gift cards and gift certificates, if the owner or gift recipient’s address information were not retained, revert back to the laws of the holder’s state of incorporation.
You can search for money in different areas such as from your state, employers, insurance, banking and investments, from a bankruptcy, internationally, and federal and state tax refunds. Start your free search using this link https://www.usa.gov/unclaimed-money that directs you to official databases for your state or multi-state. You may also search for the names of family members.
If you come upon your name or business, or a name of someone in which you are legally authorized to claim on behalf of another person, complete the claim form from each state. Potential information and required documents attached at time of submission depending on the state include:
- Relationship to the property (Owner, Heir, Executor, Corporate Officer, Other)
- Government issued photo ID
- Social Security Number or Tax Identification Number
- IRS Form W-9 Request for Taxpayer ID Number & Certification (Interest paid out is subject to tax)
- For non-US Citizens, complete a W-8BEN Certificate of Foreign Status of Beneficial Owner for US Tax Withholding form (on-line location provided)
- Proof of Address or Business Relationship with reporting Holder connecting the owner to the reported address or funds (examples will be provided such as utility bills and legal papers but you can send in any qualifying information to prove ownership)
- All claim forms must be signed and dated by all reported original owners (must provide proof of joint owner’s death)
- If the value of the property is $1,000 or more or the property is for the contents of a safe deposit box, the form must be notarized by a licensed notary public
A reminder for us all, lookout for scams. Both the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and The Office of the Ohio Attorney General provide in depth information on consumer protection and scams. Lost funds are from entities that you have had prior relationships with, like a former bank or employer. If something seems off or illegitimate, check with the FTC or Attorney General’s office before continuing.
Life can be hectic. Before you know it, years even decades have gone by and we have lost track of or forget about our property items. Why not schedule some down time for yourself and go on a quest to find if you are owed property you have yet to claim? You have nothing to lose financially and perhaps a financial windfall to gain.