Unclaimed Property 101: Tips for Keeping Your Funds From Being Lost

Jason Garcia
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Posted: November 26, 2021

Every year millions of unclaimed dollars are turned over to state coffers for safekeeping. Every state in the union maintains a registry filled with that unclaimed property, and it is up to the recipients to search for and find that money. Save yourself time and energy with these unclaimed property tips.

If you have ever searched the unclaimed registry in your state and found money that was yours, you know how good that feels. In fact, the only thing that feels better than finding unclaimed property is making sure that property does not end up in the database at all.

A little proactive action will go a long way to keep your money where it belongs. With that in mind, here are some timely tips for preventing your cash and other property from becoming unclaimed.

Tips For Keeping Your Money From Being Unclaimed

Keep your bank account active, even if it is earmarked for an emergency fund. Having an emergency fund is important, and putting money aside is the right thing to do. The problem is those savings accounts can go dormant when they are not used. That could mean the cash ends up on the state database of unclaimed property. Making a single transaction a year could help you avoid this fate, so keep tabs on your savings and keep your accounts active.

Make sure your contact information is up to date. Have you moved since you opened your bank account? Did you get a new phone number when you changed cellular carriers? Have you stopped using an old email address? If so your contact information could be out of date and the bank will be unable to reach you about dormant accounts or other problems. Checking your contact information and making sure it is current is one of the easiest ways to avoid the unclaimed property dilemma.

Grab your old insurance policies. Insurance proceeds often end up in state coffers of unclaimed property. The rightful recipients may not even know they have the cash coming. If you have an insurance policy, you might want to check with the carrier about claims and payouts just to be sure.

Check with the IRS about tax refunds you may have. Death and taxes are a fact of life. IRS refund checks are never cashed in all too many cases. When the IRS is unable to reach the appropriate taxpayer, those old refunds end up in the hands of the states, and it is up to the rightful owners to find them. You can avoid this dilemma by creating a free IRS account and seeing if you have any refund money coming your way.

Be aware of electronic accounts and online statements. When you get a bank or brokerage statement in the mail, it serves as a reminder of the account, but many people have now gone paperless. If you are one of them, you may need to be extra vigilant. Check your accounts, especially the smaller ones that are easy to overlook.

If you have ever found unclaimed property in your name, you know how exciting it can be to reclaim that lost money. The process for searching and finding unclaimed property starts fairly simple but can get complicated. It’s better to keep those funds where they belong. The tips outlined above can help with that, so you can stop your hard-earned property from being classified as unclaimed.


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