How to Check If you have an Unclaimed Property


Unclaimed Properties are assets that the rightful owner cannot be located. These building assets are typically turned over to the government after a particular duration has passed. In other to claim an abandoned property, the designated beneficiary has to file a claim. If the property is held by an estate, the claimant of the property has to show evidence to prove their rights to the property.

Unclaimed Property: Guide on How to Claim one

In the course of this article, we would be looking at how to check if a property is unclaimed, what an unclaimed property is, how they go unclaimed and how to perform an unclaimed property search. Without further mouthing, let us delve in.

What is an Unclaimed Property?

An unclaimed property is a property that has gone unclaimed beyond its dormancy period. The dormancy period of an unclaimed property is the period of time between when an institution in charge of the asset reports the property as unclaimed to the government, and the government deems it abandoned.

In some states in the United States, the period of dormancy for a property is five years. After a property has been deemed as abandoned by the government, it undergoes what is known as escheatment.  This involves the state government holding a claim to the property until the rightful owner files a claim.

Here are some examples of unclaimed properties:

  • Court funds
  • Uncashed payroll checks
  • Dividends
  • Savings and Checking accounts
  • Proceeds of estates
  • Income tax refunds
  • Stocks and Bonds
  • Forgotten layaway balances
  • Military benefits
  • Mortgage insurance refunds
  • Pension benefits

How does a property go Unclaimed?

There are so many factors that can lead to an asset or property going unclaimed.  A property goes unclaimed by going beyond its dormancy period. Therefore, after a property undergoes the escheatment procedure, where the state assumes that ownership of the property, the Property is now said to be “Unclaimed”.

Sometimes, a states comptroller or treasury can decide to locate the rightful owner of the property that is unclaimed. They can do this with a lot of methods like; mailing notifications to residence of employment or the last listed home address. The State government can also make use of online contact databases that has up to date information to aid their search.

How to Perform an Unclaimed Property search

In approximation, half of the states in the United States have searchable online databases that can help you to find out whether a state is with an unclaimed property.

Here are steps to take when you want to perform an unclaimed property search.

  • First, the property that you want to claim should have gone beyond the dormancy period.
  • The property that you want to claim would be transferred to business corporations and sometimes, third party auditors for a thorough review.
  • The auditors would now give the owner the last opportunity to claim their assets. The auditors do this by mailing diligence letters to the last known address of the owner of the property.
  • If they claim the property, the dormancy would be cleared, otherwise, it is confirmed.
  • Business organizations would now remit the property afterwards.

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