Unclaimed property is defined, as “monetary or physical assets which have become separate from their rightful owners over time.” Other terms often used are unclaimed funds or unclaimed money.

What are the most common types of unclaimed property

  • Checks, saving, and other types of bank accounts
  • Gift Cards ( even expired ones!!)
  • Contents of safety deposit boxes
  • Stocks, mutual funds, bonds, dividends
  • Un-cashed cashier’s checks or money orders
  • Certificates of deposit
  • Matured or terminated insurance policies
  • Estates
  • Apartment or utilities refund accounts

**This is only an abridged list of the countless types of property that fall into the category of unclaimed property.**

How does property and money end up becoming unclaimed property and unclaimed money?

Occasionally banks, stockbrokers, employers, or businesses have property or money that they need to return to an individual.  There are many instances when this might happen.  Here are some examples…

  • Utilities:

You pay a utility company upfront for the entire winter’s worth of natural gas.  It’s a warm winter and you have over paid the company.  The company might write you a reimbursement check, but you’ve moved to a new home before the check gets to you and you’ve neglected to leave a forwarding address.

  •  Employer:

You held a retirement account with a company, but didn’t stay at the job long.  You left the company and moved to another state.  You are entitled to the money in the retirement account, but the company has no way to reach you at your new locale.

  • Banks and Estates:

Perhaps you have a loving relative who passes away.  They might have left money for you, but set up the trust fund before you got married and moved away.  The trust managers cannot easily locate you, especially if your name has changed and you have left the state.

Sounds too good to be true?  It’s not

Unclaimed Property and Unclaimed Money
Unclaimed Property Definition

Now you might be thinking, yeah right.  There are no rich generous relatives hiding in my family tree and I know I’ve forwarded my mail every time I moved.  Well, accidents happen and property gets misplaced.  Right now the Federal government is sitting on over 16 billion in unclaimed Treasury Bonds issues since 1974.  The state of NY has 10.5 billion in unclaimed property.  The states have about 117 million listings for property that is unclaimed.  Statistically speaking, this means nearly 1 in 3 Americans are owed property.