Unclaimed Property: Claim What's Rightfully Yours
Unclaimed property may be rightfully yours, yet many people are unaware of it. This website page is here to help you discover and reclaim unclaimed money and assets that belong to you.
What is Unclaimed Property?
Unclaimed property refers to tangible or intangible assets that have been left inactive by their rightful owners for a specified period, usually three (3) years. Various states and government agencies have programs to return these funds to the rightful owners and very little is being done to notify the rightful owners that they are entitled to unclaimed money. Some state laws exclude real estate and unused gift certificates from this category. The most common types of unclaimed property include:
- Bank accounts and safe deposit box contents
- Stocks, mutual funds, bonds, and dividends
- Uncashed cashier's checks and money orders
- Certificates of deposit
- Matured or terminated insurance policies
- Mineral interests and royalty payments
- Trust funds and escrow accounts
- Death benefits
- Payroll wages
- Deposits left for utility services
The Amount of Unclaimed Property
Did you know that an estimated $70 billion in unclaimed funds is currently waiting for its rightful owners in the United States? That's approximately 1 in 7 people who may have unclaimed money. Here's a breakdown of some states with significant unclaimed property amounts:
- New York: $17 billion.
- California: $10.2 billion.
- Texas: $7 billion.
- New Jersey: $4 billion.
- Illinois: $3.5 billion.
- Pennsylvania: $3.5 billion.
- Ohio: $3 billion.
- Massachusetts: $2 billion.
Legitimacy of Unclaimed Property
Claiming what's rightfully yours is a completely legitimate endeavor. Each state's Department of Revenue or a similar department at the state level has established websites where you can check if money is owed to you. These unclaimed funds may be referred to as unclaimed property, unclaimed funds or missing money.
Most states hold unclaimed money for about five years, but some may hold it indefinitely. You can easily search for unclaimed funds using just a last name on most state websites. There's no fee involved in claiming your property, and you should be cautious of anyone asking for payment to help you with this process.
Lest you think, searching for unclaimed funds isn't worth it, let me tell you this: last year a woman in Missouri discovered she had $6.1 million in missing money. Sure, you may find you have unclaimed funds in only the two, three, or four figures, but why wouldn't you take the time to uncover money that is rightly yours?
In fact, if something shows up for a family member, relative or your friend you can let them know that you've found free money for them!
Where to claim
To reclaim your unclaimed money, most states offer a website and a toll-free number for checking. Start your free search on your state's unclaimed property office website by providing your details. You can locate both property already in the state's possession and property about to be sent to the state by businesses as required by law. If you believe you may have other accounts that didn't appear in your search, return to the website later as new names are added to the database.
How to claim
To begin the process of claiming your unclaimed property, follow these steps. Keep in mind that the steps provided are for the state of New Jersey and may differ slightly for other states.
- Select your state from the list below.
- Visit your state's official website for unclaimed property. Click on the provided link to your state's website for claiming unclaimed properties.
- Follow the instructions outlined on the state's site to initiate the claim process.
- Look for the 'Unclaimed Property' section on the website and locate the option to 'Search for Unclaimed Property.'
- Enter your Last Name and click 'Search.' For more precise results, you can further narrow down your search by adding your First Name, City, and/or Zip Code.
When providing your documents to prove ownership, ensure that the website's URL ends in '.gov.' Never upload your documents unless you are certain the website belongs to your state.
Steps below are for the state of New Jersey. They may differ for other states.
Search for Unclaimed Property sample screen.
As an example, let's say you're searching for Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City from 1994 to 2001, using the New York State form. Feel free to try searching for other names like 'Trump' for amusement!
- Review the search results and click on one or more rows that correspond to your property or funds.
- Navigate to the bottom of the page and click 'CONTINUE TO FILE CLAIM(NN).' This will lead you to a summary page of your claims with an entry field for 'Claimant Relationship.' Select the appropriate value (e.g., 'Owner') and click 'FILE CLAIM.'
- You will be directed to a Contact Information form where you need to enter your personal information, including your name, email, phone number, SSN (Social Security Number), and address.
- Click 'NEXT' to proceed, verify your information, and complete the required signature fields.
- After submitting your claim, you will receive a confirmation email from your state within a few hours. This email will contain instructions on how to upload additional documentation.
Contact Information sample form.
Confirmation and signature form.
Check the attached document in the confirmation email for your claim(s) and ensure that all of your claims are listed.
Sign the Affidavit section of the form and upload it along with a copy of Official Identification(e.g., Copy of Drivers Lic, Passport pages, state ID card) and a Proof of SSN(a copy of your Social Security card). Alternatively, some states may offer the option to mail in your supporting documentation.
Be patient while waiting for your state to process your claims. This can take up to 90 days.
NOTE: State of New Jersey sites only had provision for uploading 5 documents. If you happen to have more, place all documents in a word processor as images and export it as a PDF file and then upload that single PDF file to state's website.
How to check claim status
After you've submitted your supporting documents, you can monitor the status of your claim by following these steps:
- Visit unclaimedfunds.nj.gov (This is for New Jersey)
- Enter your claim ID, which will be listed in your email correspondence from the state.
- Check the status update: "Your documents have been received. You will receive notification when your claim has been processed, which can take up to 90 days."
There may be more!
Visit the federal site for other possible sources of unclaimed funds. USA Unclaimed Money
Alternatively, you can also search for unclaimed money using multi-state database:
Recalls.Me website is not affiliated with any State, Department of the Treasury Office or Unclaimed Property Administration Office. The information here is only provided to reunite people with their Lost Money.
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