Friday, October 17, 2008

Billions of dollars have been lost. Could some of it be yours?

Billions of dollars have been lost. Could some of it be yours?

NAUPA is the association of the state unclaimed property programs, but the databases are located and maintained by each state, not NAUPA. However, most states participate in MissingMoney and we suggest that you search there. You may also link to all state databases individually from this Web site by clicking on Find Property and then choosing each state from the map or drop-down box where you wish to search, then scroll down to see the contact information and Web site link.

Answers to Questions about Unclaimed Property

What is unclaimed property?

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.

What happens to these accounts that have no activity?

Acting in the best interest of consumers, each state has enacted an unclaimed property statute that protects your funds from reverting back to the company if you have lost contact with them. These laws instruct companies to turn forgotten funds over to a state official who will then make a diligent effort to find you or your heirs. Most states hold lost funds until you are found, returning them to you at no cost or for a nominal handling fee upon filing a claim form and verification of your identity. Since it is impossible to store and maintain all of the contents that are turned over from safe deposit boxes, most states hold periodic auctions and hold the funds obtained from the sale of the items for the owner. Some states also sell stocks and bonds and return the proceeds to the owner in the same manner.

How do states try to return this money?

State unclaimed property programs publish names of owners in newspapers, set up displays at state fairs, malls, and other public events, work with other public officials such as legislators and local librarians, and make searchable databases available via the Internet. Unclaimed property officials welcome opportunities to speak to the media and other groups.
In 2006, over 1.9 million claims were paid to owners totaling at least $1.7 billion.

No comments: