Unclaimed money. The first time I heard about it, was after a friend had been approached by a lawyer telling him about money he might be entitled to. My friend told me that the lawyer made him sign an agreement to give 35% of any money found. As he was unaware of the location of the funds, he signed the papers, and received 65k. Turned out that his mother had passed away without telling anyone about shares she owned. The lawyer kept 35k, a lot of money for a few hours of his time...
I decided to do some research to find out more about this. And this is what I found.
Free money. It sounds too good to be true. But did you know that every state in the US is currently holding many millions of dollars in funds that have been unclaimed by millions of people, companies and organizations? California for example holds more than $8 billion dollars and Pennsylvania holds more than $3.8 billion dollars. Each state has an Unclaimed Property division that is intended to connect citizens with their abandoned property, regulated by the Uniform Unclaimed Property Act (UUPA), which was last revised in 1995. The states hold this reported property until the rightful owner or heir claims it.
The same is true for 4 provinces in Canada that have unclaimed property laws and multiple other countries. And the sad part is that most people do not know about this.
Here is a short video to explain what is going on:
Imagine what a difference this money could make. It might even be used to fund your college!
Where does the unclaimed money come from?
IRS - unclaimed tax refunds
Employment retirement plans
Bank accounts and safe deposit box contents
Matured or terminated insurance policies
Workers owed wages
FHA insurance refunds
Failed banks or credit unions
Refunds on phone and cable
Stocks, mutual funds, bonds and dividends
Uncashed cashier's checks or money orders
Certificates of Deposit
Mineral interests and royalty payments, trust funds and escrow payments
Why is there such a large amount of unclaimed money?
When people move and do not leave a forwarding address a refund check is no longer deliverable. This is also the case when people change their name or when an address is incomplete or improper. In some instances people pass away and family members are unaware of the existence of bank accounts or investments. Sometimes people change jobs and do not transfer funds out of their employer retirement plan. Or people may be entitled to a refund on their old insurance policy.
Also for most companies there is not a great incentive to spend time and money locating people who are entitled to money - it is easier to send the funds to the state unclaimed property program, which they are required to do on an annual basis.
How to find out if you are entitled to any money?
- Make a list of any states you have lived (it is a good idea to check in each state separately)
- Make sure to check any name(s) that you may have been known under (you may have money owed to you under your maiden name, or from a previous marriage or you may have changed your name)
- There is a possibility that there were misspelled names - check for variations on your name and varied middle initials (c instead of k, Bill instead of William etc)
- Check also for any relatives who may have passed away ( for example a friend found out about shares that his late mother had but never had told him about them - he ended up with many thousands of dollars)
This is an updated file with verified links.
It contains a list of unclaimed property programs of
All 50 US States
US Virgin Islands
Canada: Alberta, British Columbia, Quebec & Nova Scotia
More countries are being added as we locate their programs. Please let us know if you know of any sites or if any links are broken.
Beware of scammers who insist on being paid before sharing information about unclaimed funds.
All information about unclaimed funds is available for free on the web. Because many people are unaware of this, it makes them vulnerable to being taken advantage of. Some companies require a 35% or more share of any recovered funds and will not share the information before receiving a signed consent to pay.
We hope that this article will help in the recovery of large amounts of money and that the article will be shared freely. We would love to hear from you when you are successful in making a claim. And yes, a voluntary contribution to fund our college (2 college sophomores...) is very welcome. :-).
PS: It is great that we are getting more and more reports of money that people have located. Sometimes it is just enough to buy a cup of coffee, but other times it can genuinely change a life. About 1 in 4 seems to find some property that belongs to them.
These are the step by step instructions on how to find out about your money
1 Read this article (again)
2 Download the free list of unclaimed property websites
3 Check any state your company is in, or where you have lived *
* We just discovered that you will need to also check states you have not lived in. We found money that was being held in Alaska for a person who lives in Arkansas, because the company holding the account had inadvertently misspelled the state code - AK instead of AR. The check was sent to Alaska where the money is now held...
* You can use the national site to check for your name, but not all information may be listed there. We found additional accounts on the state site that were not mentioned on the national site, and not all states are registered on the national site
4 Make sure you look for variations in your name and that you also check part of your name to widen the search
5 Determine that you indeed are the company or individual who is entitled to the funds
6 Carefully follow the instructions and fill out the forms provided on the unclaimed property page
7 Wait for the payment to come in the mail
8. Recheck at least once a year
9 Optional (but highly appreciated): Make a contribution to PayPal.Me/FundYourCollege - Thank you!
10 Share this article with friends and family so they can discover money too.