Top Trending Ways to Make a Claim on Unclaimed Assets Free of Charge
These ways are currently trending in the finance community as the easiest methods to reclaim your assets. Don't worry about the financial component, as all of these methods are completely free! Our best advice is to just ensure that what you're claiming is indeed rightfully yours to avoid any inconvenient fees, but with a growing number of automated databases online, this shouldn't be an issue!
Double-Verify the Funds Are Indeed Yours
Many people begin their search on common databases for this, such as the famed www.MissingMoney.com, which covers property-based assets in 40 states, some Canadian provinces, and Puerto Rico. However, these engines can only display what is already public record and doesn't require verification.
That means that you may be mistaking someone else's property as your own. This is especially common in high-population states and cities. For example, let's say you lived in New York City for a period of years and believe that you were left property that you haven't received. Let's say you also have a common name (probably not literally "John Smith", but we'll use that for this example). If we search for "John Smith" in any of the five boroughs, we'll find literally hundreds of results. Narrowing it down by zip-codes still leaves hundreds of results.
This is when it's time to do some digging. That means calling your state's relevant office and giving them your identity and reason for suspicion you are owed property. These agencies can provide much more data than online search engines. However, these search engines are a great springboard for seeing if there is a chance you're owed money!
Understand the Limitations of Search Engines
While search engines like the aforementioned were trending topics for awhile, the focus has returned more to local options. Why would we go away from such easy automation? The answer is that it simply is not reliable, and the information it provides is very vague. Again, there's nothing wrong with using it to check to see if there's a possibility you're owed property or money, but don't take results for granted.
If you're told you're owed something like unpaid wages, for example, you should consult other databases, as well. In this case, you would need to check the Department of Labor's online database of lawsuits they have won in your favor. The Department is more than happy to share your settlement with you, but they often have trouble reaching all employees.
Create a Manual Search List
With more than $100 billion in unclaimed assets, there's a very high chance that you're at least owed something, even if it's just a few dollars from a class-action suit against a bank you used. Using a pen and paper, label whether the following apply to you:
- You were laid off, or your company suddenly folded
- You had money in a bank, and the bank closed without providing your money back
- You served in the military, or someone directly related to you did
- Relative(s) has/have died, and there's a reasonable likelihood you were included in the will but heard nothing
- You had an FHA mortgage, but there was an issue
- You read about a class-action suit, and you were a member of the affected "class"
Now, here's what to do once you've created the list.
Go Down Your List Point-by-Point
If you were laid off, the Department of Labor's database linked earlier should have information for you. The FDIC maintains a database of closed banks right here, and it will tell you exactly how much you're owed and how to proceed.
If a relative has died and had no living will or attorney, you will need to call the County clerk of where the relative last resided and inquire about the matter. Wills are private under Common Law, so there's no way to see them publicly.
Here's the database for FHA matters, and here's the one for Armed Forces members and their families.
Remember, what's online may not always be right. The Internet is a great way to see if you might be owed assets. You'll need to interact with people for the best results, though!