Finding $2,500 of my Dad’s in Kansas

treasurechestStepping in to assist a parent is an overwhelming task. Trying to organize my parents medical, financial, personal and household papers was a job requirement. I needed an easy way to collect and document the information so I could easily find it as well as hand it off to a sibling who came to town to give me a break from caregiving. The experience fueled me to launch MemoryBanc

Many people are unaware that $58 billion is sitting in state and federal treasuries — it’s money that got lost in the shuffle of a move, crisis and even death. As a caregiver, you should know about the MissingMoney.org website. You can do one search and see if any of your loved ones money ended up in a state treasury. Every year, I do a quick search to see if anything slipped through the cracks. Last year, we found several accounts – one was in the name of my Grandfather, and the second was in the name of my Dad.

My sister started digging and learned that we could just go right to the state where the money was lost to claim our money. If you use the service on MissingMoney, they will take a cut or “finder’s fee” of your money. See additional information on this topic below. 

We find that my Granddad’s money is less than $100 and requesting the forms we’d need to claim would cost more than we would recoup, so we leave that money alone. However, when we learn that my Dad had money that was left in Kansas — and we have all the forms with the exception of the a proof of residency for their home in 1968 — my sister finds out how to get the old title to prove his residency.

Within weeks, we get a check for $2,500. We moved from Kansas in 1969 and grew up hearing stories about how my parents had to borrow the down payment to buy our home. The idea that there were assets that got left in Kansas more than 40 years ago that ended up being worth $2,500 is a little mind-blowing.

Given the amount of accounts you accumulate today, it’s easy to understand how easy it might be to forget about a stock certificate, utility deposit, or even a small retirement account. Enriched. 

HOW TO SEARCH FOR MISSING MONEY

To do a quick search to see if you are entitled to missing funds, visit MissingMoney.org. Enter your name and state and you will get back a list of possible matches. You can use their services to collect your money, or:

1) Go to the state web site where you believe you may have missing money

2) Search the state web site for “missing” or “unclaimed money”

3) Make a direct claim following the web site instructions.

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MissingMoney does not include all states and not all the information — in particular some very old records. To learn more about this topic, check out Mary Pitman who wrote a book on the topic https://www.facebook.com/TheMissingMoneyLady

Jonesing for the Era of June Cleaver

june cleaver valentineI was so excited with my first mobile phone. It was a car phone that had to be installed. I had a two-hour commute and being able to call my boyfriend was worth the cost of the latest technology.

The expectation to manage the many modes of communication 24/7 has made me reconsider the joy I felt towards that first mobile phone. We now have to manage email, texts and postings on the various social media sites we use on top of mail and home and work numbers.

The change from letters and a home phone to a variety of communication devices has radically changed how we manage our lives and how the companies that we use interact with us and how they provide service. It’s also made managing and organizing personal, financial, online and household accounts and services much more complex.

As I sift through my parents’ papers and try to manage their accounts due to their dementia diagnoses, I envy the era of the Cleavers. More than three years ago, I started to support my parents’ banking and bill pay needs. It took me more than six months just to collect major account details. Just last month a life insurance policy of my mother’s emerged.

This is not a new problem. Today, $58 billion is sitting with a variety of state treasuries and federal agencies representing checking accounts, security deposits and life insurance policies that are unclaimed (CNN Money). Many of these details fall off the radar in a crisis or during the chaos of settling an estate. However, I’m wondering how many accounts I am missing and I have had three years with my parents to collect and organize their important papers. Things are just a lot more complex today and if you don’t already know this, most financial institutions DO NOT ACCEPT even a Durable Power-of-Attorney if it’s not on their letterhead and written by their lawyers.

This month’s edition of Consumer Reports shared that both spouses knew the details about family finances and where to find major account information in only 30 percent of all households. The story went on to report that 86 percent had not updated their wills or other estate planning documents within the previous five years. Without these documents, the laws in your state will dictate how your assets and children are cared for – and you will be paying them to provide that service for your estate regardless of its size.

Several recent news stories highlight the need to document your personal, financial and online details – regardless of your age. The breadth and depth of the impact to individuals of all ages and walks of life continues to surprise me. The Wall Street Journal reported Life and Death Online: Who Controls a Digital Legacy? The article discusses the impact of the digital world on the legacy of an individual when they die. The prime subject of the story was only 16 years old.

There is a lot of material to organize. You can download our free guide to all the important papers and accounts that would make a huge difference to your loved ones should they need it. Make it your special Valentine’s Day gift to your those around you who will be impacted if you have not done this already.

We can also help you get organized. From the MemoryBanc® Register™ that organizes your personal, financial, medical, online and household details, to our Do-It-Now Service to get organized in 2 two-hour sessions, to our secure concierge storage and delivery services to ensure your information gets to the right person when it’s needed most.

We have left the era of June Cleaver far behind, and now I ask you to consider organizing your vital papers and telling family members where to find them. It’s the kindest thing you can do for your loved ones.

Sincerely,
– Kay
Kay Bransford
Chief Curator and Founder, MemoryBanc
P.S. Order a MemoryBanc Register by February 28, 2013 and receive a 10 percent discount. To take advantage of this offer, enter “GRACE” in the coupon code box at www.MemoryBanc.com/Register.

For questions or to place your order by phone, call 703.436.2827.