Unclaimed Property And How You Find It

Unclaimed property is any physical or intangible items that have not been claimed by an owner in a year or more. According to the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA) there were 2.5 million claims for a total of $2.25 billion dollars in unclaimed property returned in the United States just in the year of 2011. Currently, there is $41.7 billion in unclaimed property within the United States. There are two main types of unclaimed property: tangible and intangible.

Tangible property
Tangible property is any physical item that a person can touch. Examples of tangible property are cars, homes, boats and personal items such as cloths and jewelry. When a tangible item becomes unclaimed property the state the item is located in has the right to sell that item at auction. Then the state is required to take the proceeds from the sale and place it in an account which will be held by the state until the money is claimed by a rightful owner.

Intangible property
Intangible property is items that a person cannot touch or see. Stocks, bonds, bank accounts and traveler’s checks are all examples of intangible property. When a state takes hold of an intangible property it is required to keep the property in an account until someone claims it.

Unclaimed Property Act of 1954-1995
Before 1954 unclaimed property that had no heirs would be given to the state. The state government would become owners of the property and any money made from the sale of the property would go to the state treasury. The Unclaimed Property Act changed the law so that states can only hold the unclaimed property until an owner is found. The state could no longer profit off of the unclaimed property. This law continues to be revised when new issues arise.

How do you find unclaimed property?
As stated above unclaimed property is held by individual states. There are two main websites that can be used to find out if you have any unclaimed property. There is MissingMoney.com which is a free website that is updated weekly. You can search for your name and the state you live in. After clicking on “Go” a spreadsheet will popup displaying the unclaimed property that might possibly belong to you.

If you have several states you want to check then the NAUPA’s (unclaimed.org) is the best site to use. There is a map of the United States on the homepage. Click on the state you want and then you will be taken to that states unclaimed property website.

Prevent unclaimed property happening to you
There are several ways you can prevent your belongings from becoming unclaimed property. Keep up-to-date records of all financial holdings in a safe place such as a safety deposit box. Make sure a trusted family member or friend has an extra key to the box in case something happens to you.

If a financial institution contacts you for any reason make sure to get back to them as soon as possible. Do not procrastinate when it comes to money matters. Also, make sure to have an updated will on file with your attorney. Inform your family and friends about the will.

Unclaimed property is a large issue in the United States and throughout the world. If you think you have unclaimed property do not hesitate to contact your local state government’s unclaimed property office. Maybe you’re rich and just don’t know it yet.

State Government Links

The unclaimed property table shown below is also available at this Google Docs spreadsheet.

State Record Property
Abbrev. State Name/Hyperlink Program Name Count Valued At
AL ALABAMA Money Quest Alabama 3,700,000 $400,000,000
AK ALASKA Alaska Treasury Division 55,000 $25,000,000
AR ARKANSAS Great Arkansas Treasure Hunt 500,000 $169,000,000
CA CALIFORNIA California State Controller’s Office 11,600,000 $5,700,000,000
CO COLORADO Great Colorado Payback 500,000
CT CONNECTICUT CT’s Big List 922,917 $532,800,000
DE DELAWARE Delaware Division of Revenue
DC DIST. OF COLUMBIA Office of the Chief Financial Officer
FL FLORIDA Florida Treasure Hunt 9,900,000 $1,000,000,000
GA GEORGIA Georgia Department of Revenue
HI HAWAII Hawaii Dept. of Budget & Finance
ID IDAHO Idaho State Treasurer’s Office $57,000,000
IL ILLINOIS Illinois Cash Dash
IN INDIANA IndianaUnclaimed.com 2,261,221 $350,600,000
IA IOWA Great Iowa Treasure Hunt 243,059 $100,000,000
KS KANSAS Kansas Unclaimed Property Division $187,000,000
KY KENTUCKY Kentucky State Treasury
LA LOUISIANA Louisiana Department of the Treasury
ME MAINE Office of State Treasurer 1,000,000 $178,400,000
MD MARYLAND Comptroller of Maryland U.P. Unit
MA MASSACHUSETTS Mass. Abandoned Property Div. 40,000 $30,000,000
MI MICHIGAN Michagan’s Money Quest
MN MINNESOTA Minnesota Department of Commerce
MS MISSISSIPPI Mississippi State Treasurer
MO MISSOURI Missouri’s Largest Lost & Found 3,500,000 $600,000,000
MT MONTANA Montana Department of Revenue
NE NEBRASKA Nebraska State Treasurer 350,000 $100,000,000
NV NEVADA Nevada State Treasurer
NH NEW HAMPSHIRE New Hampshire Abandoned Property
NJ NEW JERSEY Unclaimed Property Administration
NM NEW MEXICO New Mexico Unclaimed Property
NY NEW YORK Office of Unclaimed Funds 26,000,000 $11,000,000,000
NC NORTH CAROLINA Department of State Treasurer 2,000,000 $400,000,000
OH OHIO Division of Unclaimed Funds
OK OKLAHOMA Oklahoma’s State Treasurer’s Office 600,000 $350,000,000
OR OREGON Oregon Dept. of State Lands
PA PENNSYLVANIA Bureau of the Treasury $1,500,000,000
RI RHODE ISLAND RI General Treasurer 21,000+ $146,000,000
SC SOUTH CAROLINA Palmetto Payback Program 1,500,000 $300,000,000
SD SOUTH DAKOTA Office of the State Treasurer
TN TENNESSEE State Division of Unclaimed Property
TX TEXAS Claim It Texas $5,000,000,000
UT UTAH Unclaimed Property Division
VT VERMONT Vermont Treasurer 200,000 $48,000,000
VA VIRGINIA Virginia Department of Treasury 50,000 $109,000,000
WV WEST VIRGINIA Unclaimed Property Division
WI WISCONSIN Unclaimed Property Unit
WY WYOMING Wyoming Treasurer’s Office