Unclaimed Property: Tips on How to File Your Report

The thought of money waiting for you to claim it may sound too good to be true. But, there are actually billions of dollars across the nation waiting for the proper contact. Unfortunately, if you don’t check for unclaimed property under your name, the goods will revert back to the state. Whether you’ve moved or changed your marital status, the following tips will assist you in beginning your search for the property.

What Constitutes Unclaimed Property?

Unclaimed property falls into the category of so many things. No matter if it’s due to inactivity or a loss of owner contact information, the following are examples of unclaimed goods:

• Saving account
• Checking account
• Paycheck
• Cash dividends
• Stocks
• Trust distribution
• Money order left unredeemed
• Annuities
• Gift certificates
• Safety deposit box contents
• Life insurance policy
• Utility security deposits
• Overpayment on a customer account

Where Does the Property Go?

The unclaimed property statute is different for every state. This ensures that the funds from the business are protected in case you’ve changed address or you lost contact with the company who owes you the funds. The guidelines require a business to forgo the property to the state. Many times, a state will keep the property for free or charge a small handling expense until you or your heirs have made claim to the items.

Property stored in safety deposit boxes are typically never held onto. A bank or state will auction off the goods and keep the money until the primary owner makes contact.

Where to Start Your Search

You can begin your search for unclaimed property by checking with the state where you may have attended college, worked or resided in. If you’ve lived in a variety of states over the years, you may have to widen your search.

The Internet site of the state treasurer has the information you need to start your search. This is typically a free service, and you won’t be charged a fee for your investigative work. The databases are also updated periodically to include the latest information such as names and addresses. As the property is claimed, the website will also remove the information when the goods have been returned to the primary owner.

Assets that are unclaimed are typically reported using the social security number or name of the claimant. There may also be other information such as the last known phone number and address when available If you’re doing a search in a particular state, simply put in the last or first name to see if any unclaimed properties pertain to you.

Tips on Filing a Claim

The easiest and fastest way to file a claim for your personal property is through e-filing. Simply research online with the unclaimed property database. When you’ve found a claim with your information, you can place the items in your particular shopping cart on the website. This feature allows users to check out similar to what you would find if you were purchasing items through an online retail store.

When you’re ready to check out, you’ll find instructions to follow to complete the process and claim your goods. This typically is dependent on the state, and its requirements. If you’d like to file your claim via regular mail, you can do so by printing off the claim forms on the site of the unclaimed property report. With the latest technological advances, some states allow users to file a claim using their digital camera or scanner. Just attach the photos and send via email.

Additional Information

There are other additional requirements expected of a person who is looking to claim their property. The following is a set of examples that apply:

Photo ID’s in the form of the following:

• Driver's license
• Passport
• Any other legal photo ID documentation

You can also provide proof of your address with the following materials:

• Vehicle registration
• Marriage certificate
• Bank statements
• Utility bills
• Report card or school transcript
• Court documentation
• Postmarked enveloped addressed to yourself

Ready, Set, Search

Billions of dollars in free property are ready and waiting for you to stake your claim. With the help of the above tips, you can start your own online search. Most of the states across the nation offer the service for free, so it’s worth a try to see if you have any unclaimed property in your own name.

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