Find Out About Unclaimed Assets
An unclaimed asset, more generally referred to as an unclaimed fund or property, is an asset belonging to an owner who cannot be located. There are several types of unclaimed assets that may exist and belong to you, from homes and other physical items to money held in bank accounts and other areas. Learn more about unclaimed assets, the various types that exist, and general steps for how to access these funds by reading the sections provided below.
Types of Unclaimed Assets
You may unknowingly have unclaimed assets that are being held by your state or another representative. Unclaimed assets come in the form of money, property, tax refunds and more.
If you are owed an asset and cannot be reached within a designated period of time to claim it, the asset becomes “unclaimed” and is turned over to the state government or another authority. This period of time is known as the “dormancy period” and is determined by each state.
The following are examples of unclaimed assets that exist:
• Money in unclaimed checking and savings accounts
• Unclaimed salaries and wages
• Unclaimed security deposits
• Unclaimed checks and money orders
• Unclaimed mortgage insurance refunds
• Unclaimed property
• Unclaimed funds from a bankruptcy case
• Unclaimed money from employers
• Unclaimed insurance money
• Unclaimed tax refund money
• Unclaimed money from banks or credit unions that have failed
• Unclaimed money from stocks, bonds and other investments
• Unclaimed pension money
What happens to assets that go unclaimed?
Assets that go unclaimed are those whose rightful owner cannot be reached. There are many reasons why your assets may go unclaimed, such as you moving to another residence without providing a forwarding mailing address. If a business, entity or other organization owes you money and cannot find your most recent contact information, you may not be aware that you have funds owed to you.
Each state is responsible for setting a dormancy period, which is a designated amount of time for trying to reach you concerning unclaimed assets. In most states, the dormancy period is five years. However, other states set the dormancy period at three years. To check your state’s dormancy period, visit your state’s unclaimed assets website.
If you cannot be located within the dormancy period, any assets owed to you become unclaimed (some states use the term “abandoned”). Once the state officially designates an asset as unclaimed or abandoned, the state becomes the temporary owner of the asset until the rightful owner can be found. This process is known as escheatment.
The state is not obligated to continue making efforts to contact you regarding unclaimed assets after the dormancy period ends. At that point, it becomes your responsibility to find out if you have any unclaimed assets that exist and take the proper steps to claim them. Learn how to search for possible unclaimed assets in your state in the section below.
How to Claim Unclaimed Assets
The first step to claim unclaimed funds is to find out whether there are any unclaimed assets currently in your name. Depending on the type of asset, you may need to utilize various search methods. The federal government does not have a single website you can use to search for unclaimed assets. However, you can begin with your state’s unclaimed property office and website.
One way to find your state’s unclaimed asset or property office online is to visit the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators website. This website allows you to select your state, which will then take you to the state’s official unclaimed assets page. From there, follow the prompts to conduct a search of unclaimed property and funds.
Note: If you have lived in several states, be sure to check each one to determine if there are any assets that are unclaimed.
You can also use a multi-state database to search for unclaimed assets across the U.S. It is important to only use official databases or websites when conducting your search. Legitimate websites will not charge you to search for unclaimed assets. For example, Missing Money is a website verified by the federal government.
These search tools may not provide information about all unclaimed assets in your name. Depending on the type of funds you are owed (i.e. money in bank accounts, salaries, tax refunds, etc.), you may need to reach out to different businesses/individuals for more information about the process of claiming these funds.