What is Unclaimed Money?

By information.com — Published October 03, 2017

What is Unclaimed Money?

Few financial topics are as intriguing as unclaimed money. Unclaimed funds are basically accounts in financial institutions that have been lying dormant or ignored by the owners for a year or more. The unclaimed assets are in the form of forgotten security deposits, checking accounts, insurance refunds, uncashed dividends and stocks.

According to the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA), there is currently $42 billion in unclaimed funds across the country. Are you among those missing money? If you suspect that some unclaimed cash among the billion-dollar reserve could belong to you, here are some ways to file a claim.

1. Conduct searches in every state you've lived in

Launch a free search on www.unclaimed.org to connect to the department in the particular state that maintains the uncashed/unclaimed funds. Another NAUPA endorsed website, www.missingmoney.com, provides access to records on unclaimed assets for all states and provinces.

Cover all the states you've resided in. Check under your married as well as maiden name.

Another source is the treasury website of your current state or states you've lived in. The state holds lost funds until they are claimed by the owner or their heirs. Upon showing the required identification, you can claim your money at no charge to you.

Each state implements its own process for reclaiming funds, and it can take an average of 3-4 months to receive your assets. The average individual finds $900 in unclaimed money.

2. Credit union accounts

If your credit union failed and shut down, you may be entitled to collect insurance proceeds of up to $250,000 from the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund. You can also recover unclaimed money after years of inactivity, though ideally you should start your search within 18 months of the credit union's liquidation. Visit the NAUPA website to trace your unclaimed cash.

3. Search the IRS portal

On the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website's 'Where's My Refund?' page, you can search for your missing income tax refund check by filling in your social security number or ITIN, filing status and exact refund amount.

4. Third-party service

Many people find it convenient to commission a third-party business to conduct searches and file a claim on their behalf. The company may charge a commission equivalent to a percentage of the amount being claimed.

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