Are You Owed Unclaimed Money?

Free Money? How To Find Out If You’re Due Unclaimed Cash

( – Do you know where all your money is? It may sound like a silly question, but approximately one in ten people has lost track of money they either never received or have forgotten they had at all. Money that was never delivered to you, funds that were left in an account that you have left untouched for so long that you got locked out of, or a refund you never got around to filing a claim for may be stuck in the no man’s land of unclaimed money and under the control of its original institution. If you or someone in your life has unclaimed money, you have options for finding it and getting it back.

What Is Unclaimed Money?

Keeping track of precisely where all your money is can be harder than you might think, especially if you have multiple accounts with different institutions. Opening too many accounts can make it easy to forget about one and not touch it for longer than the institution considers acceptable.

Most banks, credit unions, and similar institutions have a “dormancy period” of approximately one year that your account can be left inactive, after which you may inadvertently lose access to your money if the institution cannot determine with certainty that you are still the owner (or even that you are still alive). At this time, the institution may take control of the money or other assets if you cannot be reached. This concept is similar to the process that might happen if the owner of a storage unit abandons property in the unit and stops making payments.

Types of Unclaimed Money

There are several types of unclaimed money that range from forgotten accounts and security deposits to unpaid wages and pensions. Owners can forget about money that they are technically still in possession of, realize they never received their tax refund, insurance benefits, or final paycheck, or not be aware that they are owed money from a bankruptcy, foreign government, or other source at all. The process of finding and claiming most types of unclaimed money works similarly, but it is important to adequately keep track of finances in order to determine what areas are the most likely to be sources of unclaimed money and narrow the search accordingly.

How to Locate Unclaimed Money

Finding unclaimed money can be a hassle for owners. Fortunately, the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA) has made this process significantly more straightforward than it once was. Account holders that notice discrepancies in their financial records, cannot remember if they ever got an old security deposit back, are not sure if an account they stopped using decades ago is still open, or otherwise think there may be money somewhere that they have forgotten about can search for their unclaimed money here.

The process varies slightly by state and province, especially if you think you may have money in a state or province you do not currently live in, but you will generally begin by entering your name, business name, or tax ID number. If there are any results, you will need to file a claim and provide proof of ownership to get your money. This search has located over $3 billion in unclaimed money.

Losing access to your own money can be frustrating, but it does not have to be a permanent loss if you know what to look for. Performing a NAUPA search is the fastest way to determine whether you or someone in your life has unclaimed money that has been forgotten about and begin taking steps toward recovering it.

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