What are Unclaimed Funds?
Unclaimed Funds are monies that have been turned over to their respective states Treasury Department after they have been considered abandoned by their respective owners.
A state receives unclaimed funds only after the company holding them canconsider them “abandoned”. Money is usually considered abandoned three to five years after the company has lost contact with the owner, and three months after the company makes a final effort to reach the owner at their last known address. If the company does not have a last known address for the owner, than the assets go to the state in which it was incorporated.
Some examples of funds that become unclaimed are:
- Savings account
- Checking accounts
- Uncashed checks
- Telephone/utility deposits
- Rental security deposits
- Insurance benefits/policies
- Safe deposit box contents
- Mortgage insurance refunds
- Stocks and Dividends
- Mutal Funds
- Certificate of Deposit
- Trust Funds
- Estate Proceeds
Accounts can become unclaimed for many reasons including:
Leaving a job and never claiming a final paycheck
- Failing to notify a company that owes you money that you have moved
- Opening a savings account for a child and forgetting about it
- Moving without getting back your utility deposit
- Forgetting to cash a health insurance check
- Neglecting to cash interest or dividend checks on a security
The list of reasons why accounts go unclaimed is endless.
The company that is holding you money has a certain period of time before they are required by law to turn it over to the state.
This is called the dormancy period.
The dormancy period varies by the type of money being held, and by the state. Some companies can hold money for as little as one year before they have to turn it over, others can hold it for as long as fifteen years.
The average amount of time for money being held before it has to be turned over to the state is three years. The majority of accounts fall within in the three to five year range. In three to five years, anything can happen as far as peoples living arrangements are concerned. Many people move, their companies are relocated, they divorce, re-marry, etc..
These factors can help contribute to this held money eventually being turned over to the state and becoming unclaimed state money.
Once the state receives these assets, it becomes their responsibility to return them to their rightful owner.The states unclaimed property office will try to find the rightful owner. If the agency is not successful, it will hold the funds in perpetuity until the owner or next of kin comes to claim them.