Most American’s are unaware that more than $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. Family members and loved ones don’t know about it and it ends up in dormant accounts help by State and Federal Treasurers.
I used the MissingMoney.com website when I was caring for my parents. 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. A few years ago, we found a record for my dad and claimed $2,500. Turns out, something was left behind in Kansas when we moved away in 1969.
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. I even found some of my money that was for an over-payment to the county water utility that I never received.
HOW TO SEARCH FOR MISSING MONEY
To do a quick search to see if you are entitled to missing funds, visit MissingMoney. Enter your name and state and you will get back a list of possible matches. You should make the claim directly to the state treasury. Every state website has a simple portal you can use to initiate the process.
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.
You should never have to pay anyone money to claim money that is rightfully yours.
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.”