How Does Property Becomes Lost?

Most unclaimed property becomes abandoned as a result of a change of address (the owner moved), a name change (the owner got married or divorced), or death of the owner (the estate was unaware of the money or the heirs could not be located). Sometimes the owner knows about the asset, but is unaware that it has been declared abandoned and turned over to the state.

No finders fees, completely free

Tracers are professionals who make a living finding the owners of unclaimed property. They then contact the owners, and offer to help them locate their unclaimed property for a fee. The fees range from 10% of the value of the property to as much as 60%. All you get for the fee is the name and address of the state unclaimed property office that has your property.

How To Find Money?

There is no time limit on claiming your property. Abandoned property has been reunited with its rightful owners 30, 40, and even 50 years after it was turned over to the state. Some states have unclaimed property dating to the late 1800s. (A few states have started setting time limits, but in most cases a tracer that talks about statute of limitations is trying to create a false sense of urgency.

So how can you find out if there's money waiting for you? Very simply. If you think there might be unclaimed property that belongs to you, call or write to the unclaimed property office in each state in which you or your deceased relatives have ever lived. A list of the addresses of state unclaimed property offices appears below. It is a good idea to check with these offices every five years, even if you are certain that you haven't lost any property.

The unclaimed property office will ask for your name (including your maiden or former names), your Social Security number, current address, and all previous addresses where you lived while in the state. They will want the same information about any other individual for whom you're the legal beneficiary.

Types of Unclaimed Property

  • Dormant Savings and Checking Accounts and Certificates of Deposit
  • Safe Deposit Box Contents
  • Uncashed Money Orders, Cashiers Checks, and Travelers Checks
  • Uncashed Payroll Checks
  • Unused Gift Certificates
  • Oil and Gas Royalty Payments
  • Uncashed Stock and Mutual Fund Dividends
  • Stock Certificates
  • Mineral Royalty Payments
  • Unclaimed Security Deposits
  • Utility Deposits
  • Customer Deposits, Overpayments, Credit Balances, and Refunds
  • Court Deposits
  • Insurance Payments
  • Probate Court Judgments
  • Property Overlooked in the Probate of an Estate
  • Paid Up Life Insurance Policies
  • Uncashed Death Benefit Checks and Life Insurance Proceeds
  • Health and Accident Insurance Payments
  • HUD/FHA Refunds

To prevent your property from getting lost, you should keep an up-to-date list of all your family's assets, including bank accounts, certificates of deposit, mortgage escrow accounts, retirement accounts (IRA, Keogh, and 401(k)), layaways, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, life insurance policies, security deposits, and safe deposit boxes. If you change your name or address, write to the address associated with each asset to notify them of the change. Likewise, if you regularly receive insurance benefits or dividends, and the checks stop coming, promptly notify the company of the problem.

Claim what is yours

Find money with Found Money

With our resource guide you will locate your money almost anywhere.

Begin with registering for your free account with foundmoney and begin your claim. Be sure to search for family members and those who have passed away.

Here's just a few short common reasons for unclaimed property

  • Perhaps you moved and forgot to claim your security deposit.
  • Perhaps the utility company owed you a refund check or a refund of your deposit, and you forgot to inform them of your new address.
  • Perhaps the dividend checks from your stock or mutual fund have been going to the wrong address.
  • Perhaps you moved your money to a new bank, but forgot about an account or safe deposit box you left with the old bank. Or maybe you left a little money in the checking account to be safe, and forgot about it.
  • Perhaps you have a certificate of deposit with a bank that has seen no activity for five years. If you let it roll over and ignore the bank's mail, it could be declared abandoned.
  • Perhaps a long lost relative died without a will, and its taken years for the courts to settle the estate.
  • Perhaps a relative died and the insurance company took a while to send the check for the proceeds of the life insurance policy. Or the life insurance company may have undergone demutualization and was unable to find a current address for the policyholder.
  • Perhaps you simply forgot about some money owed you.