Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Search For Unclaimed Money and Property in Your Name

The country has a new captain at the helm and Americans are all set to try to shift the country's economic course the only way they can. A recession has hit the country on both costs and is rapidly creeping-up towards the central states. Countless folks are out of jobs, out of houses and almost out of hope. Even with the hopes of a new, smarter President, it will take a while for the U.S. economy to recover. Americans, regardless of name, are going to need all the resources they have at their disposal to survive these lean times. One possible source of cash that only a few citizens know is state unclaimed money.

Unknown to the general public, the government collects lost or abandoned financial assets from businesses, banks and financial institutions every year. According to the NAUPA, an acronym for National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators, "Unclaimed property (sometimes referred to as abandoned) refers to accounts in financial institutions and companies that have had no activity generated or contact with the owner for one year or a longer period. Common forms of unclaimed property include savings or checking accounts, stocks, uncashed dividends or payroll checks, refunds, traveler's checks, trust distributions, unredeemed money orders or gift certificates (in some states), insurance payments or refunds and life insurance policies, annuities, certificates of deposit, customer overpayments, utility security deposits, mineral royalty payments, and contents of safe deposit boxes" Currently, these are worth roughly $33 billion spread-out among the different State Treasuries and all people have to do is search for unclaimed money by person name.

Quite ironic that in this time of economic strife, people still lose track of their finances and never take the time search for money under their name. These funds sit in banks, insurance companies, various businesses, etc. until their owners remember and come to get them. Otherwise, they're collected by the US government as State unclaimed property after the specified period of dormancy (3-5 years usually). An excerpt from a press release by Georgia State Department of Treasury Unclaimed Property Unit explains dormancy periods best: "The time that must elapse for property to be determined "abandoned" and turned over to the state varies depending on the type of property. For example, unclaimed wages and company liquidation proceeds must be turned over to the state after one year. The vast majority of unclaimed property must be turned over to the state five years after the last contact with the rightful owner. Time frames for other types of property are: safe deposit box contents must be forwarded to the state two years after the box was opened by the holding financial institution; money orders seven years after the issue date; and traveler's checks 15 years from the issue date."

The excerpt from is fairly standard across all 50 U.S. States and most have websites where visitors may search by name to locate assets due to them.

The Unclaimed Property Division in each state takes charge of safekeeping the citizens' lost assets and locating the owners. Most States keep the funds indefinitely until the owners or their beneficiaries look for unclaimed money by a persons name and realize they're actually missing money and show-up to collect. However, if you live in Idaho or Indiana, you are urged to search as soon as possible if you have never searched. After 10 years, if the property if not claimed, the state takes possession forever. Currently, time restraints do not apply to some of the more active states like California, Texas, Washington, New York or Florida. All Americans are urged to search for unclaimed money and property in their names each year, and several times per year as funds are added year round.

Next Story : When is it Time For a Life Settlement? 

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