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Uncovering Lost Assets


Have you ever considered the possibility that there may be a significant amount of money somewhere that belongs to you but that you've never taken possession of? It might literally pay for you to do an online search for unclaimed property.


Unclaimed property refers to assets that have apparently been left behind by their owner. Typical unclaimed items include:


·         Utility deposits

·         Checking or savings account balances

·         Undistributed wages

·         Uncashed dividend checks

·         Stock certificates or accounts

·         Bonds

·         Mutual fund accounts

·         Pension benefits

·         Life insurance proceeds

·         Safe deposit boxes

·         Royalty payments

·         Court payments or deposits


There may be unclaimed property waiting for you particularly if you've ever moved to a new home, even if you left a forwarding address. Beyond that, have you ever retired or otherwise left a job? Stopped payments on an insurance policy? Or settled a deceased family member's estate? Have you noticed that regular dividend, interest or royalty checks stopped arriving in your mailbox? Are you in the habit of throwing mail away without reading it? Do you still have an open checking or savings account on which you haven't made any transactions for more than three years? If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, it's possible that somewhere, there's unclaimed property calling your name. It could be in any state where you and your family have ever lived or done business.


How can you find unclaimed property? The National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA) is a nonprofit organization whose members represent the governments of all 50 states and the District of Columbia. On the NAUPA website (www.unclaimed.org), a simple click of your mouse will take you to any state government's unclaimed property program, where you can conduct a search for lost assets in that state. The NAUPA site also contains links to other resources, including federal agency sites, to help with a search. For example, the Treasury Hunt website (www.treasurydirect.gov) enables you to hunt down any US savings bonds you may have forgotten about. And on the IRS web page (www.irs.gov), you can try to locate any undeliverable refund check in your name.


Happy hunting.

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