Unclaimed property? What to do

Have you checked your state's unclaimed property website recently? Chances are you or someone you know has money waiting to be claimed.



Millions of dollars in unclaimed property are returned to individual states each year. Because there is no state department that hunts you down to rightfully return your unclaimed money, it’s up to you to find and claim what’s yours.

Is it possible you have unclaimed funds waiting to be collected? Learn what you should do in this short video by Darci Jones.

Where do states get unclaimed property?

Unclaimed property is any financial asset that has been abandoned by the owner for one or more years. Most of the time, the property has been abandoned unknowingly and can come from a variety of providers, including:

  • Dormant bank accounts
  • Safe deposit boxes
  • Dividends, unclaimed paycheck or cashier’s checks
  • Old stock certificates, mutual fund accounts, or bonds
  • Uncollected insurance proceeds
  • Utility deposits and other refunds
  • Mineral interest or royalty payments
  • Court deposits, trust funds, and escrow accounts

When a company finds property that doesn’t belong to them, they are required to turn it over to the state. While most of the property is cash, some may include watches, jewelry, coins, currency, stamps, or any other valuable item placed in a safe deposit box.

How does money become unclaimed?

Most people would never intentionally leave money unclaimed, even if they’re not living paycheck to paycheck. So how does it become unclaimed?

Let’s suppose you find a place to rent and are required to put down a deposit for utilities. After a few years, you decide to move out but have long forgotten about your deposit. If you neglect to give the utility company advance warning about your choice to move and they have no way to contact you, they wait to see if you will come to them directly to claim your deposit. If not, they are required to turn it over to the state.

How long will states hold onto unclaimed property?

Most states have no statute of limitations for citizens to claim their property, but this may vary by state. Because there is no government-wide, centralized database on how each state obtains or handles unclaimed property, you will need to check your state’s website.

Who might have unclaimed property?

Anyone can have unclaimed property. You’re not limited to discover just for yourself, but for your friends and relatives, as well! But it’s not just individuals who may have unclaimed money or assets; businesses, schools, churches, charities and hospitals may also have property in possession of the state.

How do I claim my property?

Search for your state’s unclaimed property website and then follow the steps to review the list of names and properties. If you see something that might be a fit, follow the steps to make a claim on the property.

Don’t leave your funds unclaimed! Take some time to search your state’s database today and take your property home.

Taking a few minutes to check your state's unclaimed property website may help you discover assets or funds that belong to you!

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