Abandoned or Unclaimed Property
Unclaimed property totals billions of dollars nationwide. The Internal Revenue Service alone holds $25.6 million dollars in un-cashed tax refund checks. You may think it's unlikely that you're one of the lucky people who have unclaimed property or money waiting for them, but it's estimated that one in every four to eight Americans has unclaimed property.
What Is Abandoned or Unclaimed Property?
The most common types of unclaimed property or money are from:
- Un-cashed payroll checks, travelers checks, or money orders
- Forgotten savings and checking accounts
- Unused Gift Certificates
- Unpaid insurance policies
- Tax returns
- Security or utility deposits
- Unclaimed wages or commissions
- Stocks and bonds
- Credit balances
- Forgotten layaway balances
- Safe deposit boxes
- Pension benefits
- Military benefits
- Mortgage insurance refunds
How Does Money or Property Become Abandoned or Unclaimed?
Most property becomes "lost" or "abandoned" when somebody changes their address or name (due to marriage or divorce) or when somebody dies and their family or heirs don't know about a particular investment, bank account, or other source of funds.
Where Is This Money or Property?
When money or property goes unclaimed for three to five years, the company or organization holding the money has to report it to the state of the owner's last known address. The state holds it until the rightful owner steps forward to claim it. Some states are holding money or property from as far back as the 1800s!