Find Missing Money – Unclaimed Paychecks and Other Property

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I was reading No Credit Needed (NCN is one of my favorite personal finance blogs) yesterday and his latest article was a reflection on his last three years of blogging, and a look toward his future. One section in particular grabbed my attention: One of the coolest things that happened while I was getting out…

I was reading No Credit Needed (NCN is one of my favorite personal finance blogs) yesterday and his latest article was a reflection on his last three years of blogging, and a look toward his future.

One section in particular grabbed my attention:

One of the coolest things that happened while I was getting out of debt was receiving an unexpected check from the state of Florida. Read this post Found Money!! Wowser to learn more about my long-lost paycheck and the website Missing Money.

On a whim I went to the website Missing Money, and I typed in my state and last name.

find lost moneyNo, I didn’t have a paycheck waiting for me, but my brother did!

The information provided by the website includes the person’s name, partial address, and where to contact to retrieve the money. The site also list the amount as under $100, or unknown. In my brother’s case, the amount is less than $100, but it’s still nice to get! I’ll have to let him know! 🙂 lets you search for unclaimed money in any state in the U.S. If you’ve traveled around a lot, there is a chance you could have money waiting for you in another state. They update their database every week, so it’s great to keep looking, you never know when something is going to pop up.

According to the site, there are some common types of unclaimed money:

  • Bank accounts
  • Safety deposit boxes
  • Stocks, bonds, mutual bunds
  • Paychecks
  • CDs or trust funds
  • Utility deposits
  • Escrow accounts

Find Unclaimed Properties: When paychecks are not picked up by the employee, the business turns them over to the state as unclaimed. The National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators assists states in the distribution of these unclaimed paychecks and other unclaimed properties.

If you find a name and address match, claiming your money is pretty simple. All you’ll have to do is fill out a simple form. It just requires some basic information to whichever state the money is sitting in.

You’ll have to print out a claim form, fill it out, and then mail it. Each state has slightly different requirements on how you can claim the money, but in general, it’s fairly easy. Each state is different. Some state governments are going to be quicker than others.

In order to claim the money, you’re going to have to prove you have lived at the address listed on the money. A lot of people don’t have files from years ago which can prove you lived there. What do you do if you can’t prove you lived at the address? Is the money gone for good? Probably not.

If you have no way of proving you lived there, all you have to do is attach a letter to the claim form. After this, they will contact you with the next steps of getting the money. Once again, each state will have different kinds of forms to complete.

On a similar note, if the person on the claim has passed away, you can still claim the money if you’re the rightful heir. You’ll have to go through a similar process. You will need to provide some documentation, like a death certificate.

According to the NAUPA website:

Common forms of unclaimed property include savings or checking accounts, stocks, uncashed dividends or payroll checks, refunds, traveler’s checks, trust distributions, unredeemed money orders or gift certificates (in some states), insurance payments or refunds and life insurance policies, annuities, certificates of deposit, customer overpayments, utility security deposits, mineral royalty payments, and contents of safe deposit boxes.

Another method of finding unclaimed property is contacting the state’s unclaimed property office.

Important Note: This is a free search! There are many companies out there that use the freedom of information act, in conjunction with sites such as Missing Money to find missing property for people. They sometimes charge a lot to do this!

From the NAUPA website Q&A:

I have received a notice that property has been found, but there is a fee to obtain it.There are many business firms, sometimes called finders or locators, which find legitimate lost property for owners and offer to inform them of how to obtain it for a fee, usually a percentage of the total (many states limit the fee to 10 percent). Sometimes, companies will hire these firms to find you before they turn the funds over to the state. Ultimately the finder will ask you to sign a contract. The majority of firms that provide these services work within the law, but there are also many unclaimed property scams across the United States. Before signing any contract from a firm of this type, we recommend that you be cautious and contact the unclaimed property office in your state for more information.

I recommend doing a search for your name. You might just be surprised at what you find! I know my brother will be! 😉

Related Post: How We Manage Our Money on a Daily Basis

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About Ryan Guina

Ryan Guina is the founder and editor of Cash Money Life. He is a writer, small business owner, and entrepreneur. He served over 6 years on active duty in the USAF and is a current member of the IL Air National Guard.

Ryan started Cash Money Life in 2007 after separating from active duty military service and has been writing about financial, small business, and military benefits topics since then. He also writes about military money topics and military and veterans benefits at The Military Wallet.

Ryan uses Personal Capital to track and manage his finances. Personal Capital is a free software program that allows him to track his net worth, balance his investment portfolio, track his income and expenses, and much more. You can open a free account here.

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