There is nearly $8 billion in unclaimed cash currently held by individual state and federal governments. It’s natural to wonder if you’re owed money. According to the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA), a nonprofit representing unclaimed property programs in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, governments are holding onto unclaimed cash. Here’s what you need to know about recovering forgotten funds.
Why does cash go unclaimed? According to the North Carolina State Treasurer, after a period of no owner contact with the account, by law, brokerage firms, financial institutions and utility companies must turn over forgotten money to the state when the owners can’t be located.
This money mostly represents forgotten security deposits, life insurance policies, certificates of deposit (CDs), abandoned financial accounts (e.g. checking accounts, IRAs), safe deposit box contents, uncashed checks and other financial assets. Left unclaimed, the money is turned over to a state or the federal government. Today, the NC State Treasurer estimates about $711 million in unclaimed funds is available to be returned to its rightful owners.
How do I recover unclaimed money? To recover lost cash in North Carolina, start with the State Treasurer at nccash.com. If you’ve lived in other states, visit unclaimed.org, a site run by NAUPA. You’ll be able to search using your name or that of a loved one, if applicable. The site provides instructions on how to claim your property if you find lost money.
You can also search individual federal agency websites to find lost money owed to you. Be sure to check if you’re owed unclaimed retirement funds such 401(k) assets by visiting unclaimedretirementbenefits.com. The website is a collaboration between many of the companies that administer 401(k) plans.
Watch out for scams Don’t reply to any unsolicited communication from companies about recovering funds. Instead, use the unclaimed.org map to check for forgotten funds yourself.
If you do find lost cash, consider budgeting so you can spend a little on something special for yourself. Next, you may want to add funds to a money market account to bolster your retirement savings.
The advice provided is for informational purposes only. Contact a financial advisor for additional guidance.
Article provided by Local Government Federal Credit Union.