That “unclaimed property” that you hear advertised on the radio...could some of it be yours? Have you ever wondered how and why an individual’s or company’s assets become unclaimed? How does that happen?
It does — and often enough in Massachusetts to add up to over $3 billion dollars in unclaimed property. Even more shocking, 1 in 10 people in Massachusetts has unclaimed financial assets. It’s easier to lose track of money than you may think.
It’s not just a forgotten safety deposit box and its contents...unclaimed property includes forgotten savings or checking accounts; unpaid wages; customer deposits or overpayments; credit balances; uncashed refunds; money orders; paid-up life insurance policies; and benefits checks in which there has been no activity in the past three years. Unclaimed property does NOT include real estate, but it can include valuables, such as jewelry and old coins, for example.
How does all this unclaimed property add up? Well, if you are not keeping track of your financial accounts, for example, it’s easy to let money lie inactive in a checking or savings account that you never officially close. You may have moved and left no forwarding address for your mail. Or, you may have some old savings bonds squirreled away in a safety deposit box in which you’ve had no activity, and failed to pay the annual rental fee for the box. If so, your assets can become unclaimed.
Other more common reasons include having received a refund from a medical procedure that you let expire and never cashed. Unused PayPal account balances are commonly the source of unclaimed funds. All these sources of money add up, and the Unclaimed Property Division holds the funds until they are claimed by either the original owner or his/her heirs.
If you live or have ever lived in Massachusetts, here’s how you can find out if the state is holding any of your unclaimed property:
Go online to: https://www.findmassmoney.com/, the website for the Unclaimed Property Division. You can type in your first and last name, and narrow your search with address information. If you find you have unclaimed assets, you can fill out an online form to begin the process of claiming your money and/or assets. It’s easy, free, and worth the few minutes of time to search for—and perhaps find—unclaimed property under your name.
If you live in another state, check online to find contact information for your state’s Unclaimed Property Division.
You may be surprised at what you find — and get back — in unclaimed property.
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