There are about 25 million people in Texas and about 6 million names on the list of unclaimed money in Texas.
That means approximately one in four Texans have unclaimed money being held for them!
For a little background information, unclaimed property is defined as “any financial asset that has been abandoned by the owner for one or more years”.
Now, you may ask “why would someone abandon their own money?”. Well for the most part they don’t do it on purpose!
For instance, some examples of Texas unclaimed money include:
- Dividend, payroll or cashier’s checks
- Stocks, mutual fund accounts, bonds
- Utility deposits and other refunds
- Bank accounts and safe deposit box contents
- Insurance proceeds
- Mineral interest or royalty payments
- Court deposits, trust funds, escrow accounts
Now, take a look the third item “utility deposits and other refunds”. Let’s say you moved into a house or an apartment and needed to get the electricity in your own name. The electric/utility company may have asked for a deposit before starting up your service. Now let’s say you lived there for several years and decided to move out. By this time, you have probably long forgotten about your utility deposit. If you move out and the utility company does not have a forwarding address or for some unknown reason on their end are not able to get you your deposit back, they are required by law to turn it over to the state.
In Texas, unclaimed money is turned over after one year. This is just one example of how your money might end up on the Texas unclaimed money list.
Claim Processing Time
It takes approximately 90 to 120 days (see comment below) to process an original owner claim once it is received at the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, if no additional information is needed. Certain claims may take longer.
Technically, there is no deadline for claiming Texas unclaimed property. In fact, if the owner has passed away, heirs can legally claim their family’s assets. But abandoned items pile up extremely quickly, and the state has a very limited amount of space in which to store these items. After every possible method to contact the owner has been exhausted over several years, something has to be done.
Texas does need help in contacting the six million people owed unclaimed money. The state cannot do it all themselves.
The City of Houston, TX has their own list of unclaimed money.
The list has 410,000 names on it. This list only contains amounts under $100. Anything over $100 is turned over to the States unclaimed money division.
Still, if you live or have lived or worked in Houston, it doesn’t hurt to check to see if you have some money owed to you.