This has probably happened to you: You wake up ready for the day. You’re walking to the office and then all of a sudden you pull money out of your pocket unexpectedly. That’s the makings of a great day. Of course, that’s something you already had in your possession. What about property not in your possession? A forgotten account or money of a related decedent? Perhaps it was money that you never knew existed. This is what would be known as unclaimed property. Every U.S. State has what’s known as an unclaimed property program. This is where unclaimed assets are held waiting for claimants.

A financial institution will send an individual a notice of the money and if no action is taken, the money is considered to be part of what’s called a dormant account. With no response in a dormant account, the money gets sent to the division.

First and foremost, it’s important to understand that there may be businesses or individuals who will offer to do the work for you. However, it’s advised that you avoid getting that kind of help because this is a public record and you can do it yourself. Anyone can access the information, including you. So with that said, let’s go over how to place a claim on unclaimed property.

  1. Discover what State is holding the unclaimed property:
    As mentioned, each State has its own unclaimed property division. Whatever State in which the money resides is where you will need to make that claim. If you’re in Michigan and have unclaimed property in Illinois, you would have to claim property through the State of Illinois’ unclaimed property division, because that’s where the money rests. In addition to the 50 U.S. States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands have unclaimed property divisions.
  2. Fill out application and verify identity:
    For some people, it may be easy to fill out the application and verify their identity. However, the more common a name is, the more arduous the task to verify identity. For example, if someone named Michael Smith has property that he is going to place a claim on, they will likely go through more steps in verification than someone with a unique name such as Wilbur Oldmeyer. The reason is easy to understand – there are many people in the world (and in each State) named Michael Smith, but very few named Wilbur Oldmeyer. That means when searching for property of Michael Smith, you’re going to have many names appear in your search. The reason the verification process exists is to assure the unclaimed property division that the property does indeed belong to the person applying for the claim.

If you have questions regarding unclaimed property, call The Probate Pro at (877) YOUR-FIRM.