You may not know it (or you may have forgotten about it), it’s possible that you own more properties than you thought you did. These properties are called “unclaimed property” and they refer to any type of account in banks and other financial institutions which you haven’t touched or even asked about for more than a year.
Types of Properties
We’re not talking about land, though. For the most part, these properties include bank checking or savings accounts, stocks, payroll checks, dividend payments, traveler’s checks, and other similar types of accounts. Also, they may also pertain to the content of a safety deposit box held in a bank.
In the US, states require banks and other financial institutions to turn over unclaimed property to a state official, who then tries to find the owner. If that’s you, you can get your property back for just a very minimal fee or sometimes without any fee at all.
If the property is not in liquid form, then the state converts stocks and bonds into money by selling them, while it holds an auction to sell off the contents of a safety deposit box.
Basically, we are talking about money here. The average worth of unclaimed money may be less than $900, but for many of us that represents a nice chunk of loose change.
How Do You Know If You Have Unclaimed Property?
This is simple enough to do, as you can just go online to get the information you need quickly and at no cost.
– One website you need to check out is the NAUPA website. In this website which is run by the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators, you can find all the answers to
all your questions about any unclaimed property which may belong to you.
– Another website you can visit is MissingMoney.com, which is officially endorsed by NAUPA. This is a huge database of unclaimed properties, and you can search the database to see if you have unclaimed property. Using the website is absolutely free.
Some locator companies, however, may contact you to inform you that they can do all the work for you for a fee. You can choose this option if you can’t be bothered with doing all the work, and usually the fee is no more than 10% of the value of your unclaimed property.
There are drawbacks to this agreement, however. One reason to refrain from using a paid service is that you can do everything they can do simply by going online. What’s more, you may even find out more unclaimed properties because states may not give locators all the info they seek in an effort to protect your privacy.
And you should also keep in mind that the money may be a huge sum. Ten percent of a million dollars is $100,000! For all you know, a distant relative may have passed away and you may be the closest living relative—and therefore the heir.
So if you have some free time, just go online and check whether you have property which you can claim. Check the states where you previously lived, and you can even check the databases of each and every state in the country.