CNNMoney ran a story $58 billion unclaimed: Is some of it yours? and Good Morning America hosted a segment called “Show me the Money” where they helped people get connected to money that is rightfully theirs. It’s easy to overlook an insurance policy, deed or even have a bank account fall off the radar screen in a crisis, move and even after death.
This isn’t a new problem and the amount of money involved highlights the enormity of this issue. Most American’s have no idea they may have money sitting in a state or federal treasury, just waiting to be claimed.
Last year, we claimed $2,500 of my father’s money from Leavenworth, Kansas. We moved from there in 1969. Apparently some old stock certificates got left behind and had matured over the years. My parents were very organized. As the kid who had to step in to help them, they did everything the estate lawyer, financial planner and insurance advisor suggested. There are some gaps in those recommendations and we will never know the history, but do know that in 1969, as a LTC in the Army with 4 kids at home, they needed that money. That year my parents borrowed $6,000 from my grandparents so they could purchase our new home in Virginia.
If you want to find out if you have a right to this pool of unclaimed money, I suggest you start at MissingMoney.com. You can do a search by name to see if you might have money waiting for you. I also recommend you search for loved ones since most people aren’t familiar with this site. A search by my sister ended up with us learning about my dad’s money.
There are two ways to claim your money and you can decide which path is right for you.
- Use the services offered for the claim process on MissingMoney.com. They will charge you a finder’s fee, but some claims may require additional documents and they should be able to help you get what you need to claim the money. Before you start, find out how much money is to be claimed as well as how much they will charge you for the assistance.
- Claim the money directly from the state treasury where it’s being held. We did my dad’s claim ourselves. On the Kansas state government website, we searched for “unclaimed property” and found the page that told us how to request the money. Within a few weeks we received a check. You should be able to find the instructions on how to claim your money on both state and federal websites by searching for “unclaimed property.”
Best wishes on your treasure hunt.