Everything You Need to Know About Unclaimed Property
Unclaimed Property consists of cash and other personal assets that are considered lost or abandoned after an owner cannot be located within a specified period of time. This property may be cash, bonds, stocks, gift certificates, and contents of safety deposit boxes (jewelry, documents, etc.) The amazing thing about unclaimed property is that it is just that – unclaimed. It still belongs to the rightful owner, and by law, all they need to do is ask for it to regain possession. But how does one go about finding out about it in the first place?
Where to Look? Most state treasurer’s offices in the United States each maintain their own websites, where users can look up any unclaimed funds by last name. The trouble with this method is that you need to go to a separate site for each state you may have property in. And who wants to Google search for many different states that may potentially hold an unclaimed treasure? Websites such as Missingmoney.com and Unclaimed.org (both maintained by the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA), can help you in your search by listing contact info for each state office and providing a search tool for several treasuries at one time.
What to Do? Once you have found what might be unclaimed property that should be in your possession, there will be a form and some simple verification steps to follow to prove to the state that you are the rightful owner. Once this has been established, you can arrange for your property to be returned to you.
(NOTE: Please don’t ever pay anyone to “find” property for you. This is a service that your state treasury will gladly provide you for free. It is their job, and since most unclaimed property has a value of less than $100, it does you no good to pay someone to do what you and your state treasury can accomplish on your own.)
No property? Even if you don’t have any property, you can still take advantage of the billions of dollars of unclaimed items left abandoned in the possession of state treasuries. Many of them are now selling this property on Ebay and other online auction sites. To see a quick view of some of the items that the state of Maryland has up for auction, for example, view their seller’s item list. All proceeds from these auctions are held for the rightful owner or their heirs, and can be claimed at any time. It just may be a great way to get a good buy on that 1978 Krugerrand you’ve always wanted!
Unclaimed property is the coolest lost and found out there. Check it out today, and see if you don’t have a little unknown treasure waiting for you!