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Unclaimed property


Unclaimed Property - This refers to either money or any other personal property that has no owner, and in the case, that it cannot be located for a specific period, is considered as lost or have become abandoned. An association would withhold the property to which an owner had no contacts for an extended period i.e. usually considered as unclaimed after three years. Unclaimed Property often would include savings or checking accounts, stocks, payroll checks, refunds, traveler’s checks, trust distributions, unredeemed money orders or gift certificates, insurance payments or refunds and life insurance policies. In addition, annuities, certificate of deposit, customer overpayments, utility security deposits, mineral royalty payments, and contents of safe deposit boxes etc can be considered as an unclaimed property.


How a Property Can Become Lost?
Properties can be lost or can become forsaken mostly due to the change in the addresses, a name change, or due to the death of the owner. Moreover, there are circumstances that an owner can misplace his money or even he could have forgotten about that.


There may be conditions like:

As you have moved, you would have forgotten to claim the security deposit of yours.

• There may be times when the service company of yours would have allocated you a refund check or the refund of your deposit, and you would have forgot to inform them of your new address.

• Possibly the dividend checks from your stock or mutual fund would have been going to the wrong address.

• If you have moved your money to a new bank, and if you had, forgot about the account or the safe deposit you left with the old bank may be lost. On the other hand, you may have left a little money in the checking account to be safe, and you have forgotten about that.

• If the bank that you have deposited is not active for over five years, and if you let it roll over and ignore the bank's mail, it can be declared as deserted one.

• If the long lost relative has died without a will, it will take years for the courts to settle the estate, and in this case, it would be declared as abandoned.

• If the insurance company took a while to send the check for the proceedings of the life insurance policy on behalf of the death of a relative, it would be considered as a neglected property.

• The gift certificate, certified check, cashier's check, stored-value card, or money order may not have spent will be considered as a Unclaimed Property.

• There may be situation for a life insurance company for not able to find the current address of the policyholder.

• Error may have occurred if the regular account statement was inadvertently marked undeliverable and if it was returned to sender.

• Finally, you may have simply forgotten about the money that you have owned or you may have received a check that you haven’t cashed

Methods to avoid Property from Becoming Unclaimed

• Keeping the records of your bank accounts will stop the property of yours to get abandoned

• Show interest and awareness of the accounts by contacting the holder at least once in every three


• Keep the record of your stock certificates sure to cash all the dividends that you have received

• Have a record all the utility deposits, including the telephone, cable, and electricity deposit

• Confirm the account balances with banks, stockbrokers and utility companies by responding in writing for any requirements of confirmation

• The change in address should be notified to the banks in which you have your accounts.

• Giving a notice to your bank, broker, credit card issuer, employer, life and health insurance contact, mortgage lender, doctor, lawyer, accountant, of the change in your name due to marriage, divorce or any other legal action will help to avoid the property from becoming unclaimed

• Cashing the checks promptly upon receipt will also avoid from become unclaimed

What will happen to an unclaimed property

Generally, all the states will be facing abandoned property that holds money, property, and other assets for a period of inactivity from three to five years. In the duration of this

inactivity period, proprietors, banks, insurance companies and other organizations will try to return the property to the right owners. In case of their failure, the property would be turned over to the property division office of the unclaimed.The Unclaimed Property office would then try to find the right owners by placing advertisements in the newspapers. There is no time limitation to claim the property for the abandoned properties have been reunited with its owner even after 50 years. In case if the owner has not been traced it would be returned to the state. Moreover, the relatives of owner who is dead can file for the unclaimed property.

Role of the state on unclaimed property

The Unclaimed Property will be protected by the state until it is returned to its owner. Additionally the state may auction the safe deposit boxes, if it is not claimed within five years. About $450 million, unclaimed property has been turned over to the Department of Revenue since 1955. The department of the unclaimed property division received the property worth more than $55 million in the year 2004. As the amount continues to grow each year, the funds are deposited in a trusted account and the department guards would administer through its Unclaimed Property program.

Finding the lost property

If a person assumes that an Unclaimed Property is present that belongs to him, he can call or write to the unclaimed property office. They would ask for the name, social protection number, current address etc. The claim form should be submitted for a person to get the check.

There will be professionals who would make a living in finding the owners of the unclaimed property. They would do this work for a fee that ranges from 10% value of the property to as much as 60% of it. You do not have to trust the tracer for you yourself can call the state and can get the money without having to pay anybody!!!