If you recently had a family member pass away, you may (rightfully) be wondering if there are any unclaimed assets that you can look into claims. It can essentially feel like you’re getting free money rather than having to pay for all the outstanding debts that the now deceased person may have unintentionally left behind. According to an article from Today.com, there are $42 billion in unclaimed funds that are in the United States and various government departments right now.
There are unclaimed funds in financial institutions when there has been no activity generated or no contact with an owner for a year or longer. This often occurs with checking and savings accounts, stocks, uncashed dividends, security deposits, IRS refunds, and more.
If you’re looking for how you can find out if there are unclaimed assets within your family or from a deceased loved one, here is how you can go about looking:
- Search on websites like MissingMoney.com or Unclaimed.org, which feature collective records from state held unclaimed property departments.
- Look at the treasury website for the state where the person has lived and any other states where they may have resided in the past.
- When you are looking, make sure you type in all the places where that person has ever lived. If they were married, you should also look under the person’s maiden name to make sure there isn’t anything under either name. If you use a first initial and a last name, that’ll show everything available.
- If you want to use a third-party service to claim unclaimed money, you can, but it isn’t required. Each state has its own process that you need to adhere to, which can take up to three or four months and requires information like a social security number and more personal information. You can also choose to use a locator business to claim those funds and assets to avoid doing any paperwork and so you don’t need to pay up front.
If you have a family member who you suspect may have unclaimed assets but might not be the most technologically savvy, you can also help them look it up by searching with their name, social security number, and other information that they might need to provide. You can look them up in the various state departments. Each state has a different process where it could take up to two weeks to process a claim for unclaimed assets, while other states might have rules that will take several months from the date when you first filed your claim. You can usually check the status of the claim online to see what your state’s rules are.
In most states, while they each have their own guidelines for unclaimed assets, the money and unclaimed assets will be held until the owner is found. And when the owner of the assets is a deceased family member, you’ll need to look into whether or not you’re a beneficiary for that person so that you can then go on to claim those assets.