There Are A Lot of Unclaimed Assets, But What Should You Be Looking For?
Every year, billions of dollars worth of various assets enter the hands of corporations, state governments, and the federal government that specific individuals are entitled to, but haven't been claimed for one reason or another. Oftentimes, people aren't even aware that there are assets out there in their name, either due to not being notified or due to changes in phone number or address.
While there are assets out there that many people, including you, may be entitled to, it can be difficult to determine exactly what they are if you don't know what to look for.
Here's a list of the most common types of unclaimed assets.
Inherited Money Or Property
Probably the most well-known type of unclaimed asset is when a relative, friend, neighbor, or even co-worker dies and leaves cash or physical property to someone in their will. While it's the duty of government bodies and lawyers to properly notify and transfer assets to people who are legally entitled to them, it's not too uncommon for this process to not take place.
Paperwork gets shuffled around, people change their contact information, and communication can become jumbled. All of these problems, either individually or combined, mean that you might have inherited something from someone who has passed away and just don't know it.
If you've moved around a lot and you've lost touch with people from your past, it's very much possible you have unallocated assets in your name.
Old Insurance Policies
Insurance policies are a relatively common thing people use to offset the risks of many different real-life problems. While not all policies operate in the same fashion, there are a multitude of insurance plans that you can liquidate into cash if you want to.
Why this is important to keep in mind is that people switch insurance policies with a great deal of regularity and, more importantly, insurance companies merge with each other at an astounding rate. It's common for insurance policies that have not been properly liquidated or closed on to enter the hands of brand new parent companies that don't know what to do with them. As a result, the cash value of many policies simply remains unclaimed.
If there's an insurance policy that you don't remember closing, there's a significant chance that it still exists and can be liquidated.
Savings bonds are a relatively common asset that remain unclaimed. As bonds are largely physical in nature, it's common for them to be lost, degrade, or get completely destroyed during instances of flooding or fire. However, while bonds are represented in the form of physical paper, legally they're allowed to be claimed by only certain individuals, regardless of whether they have a physical bond available. Governments keep track of who is entitled to savings bonds, so if you no longer possess a savings bond or believe you have an unclaimed bond in your name, then you can fill out a fiscal service form 1048, available from the U.S. Treasury Department.
Unclaimed Tax Returns
Despite the major hassle tax returns present every April and their high degree of notoriety in the public consciousness, the IRS frequently encounters people who don't claim their tax returns. Due to the government taking out too much money out of people's paychecks in the form of tax, the IRS regularly offers taxpayers a refund at the end of every tax season if they've overpaid.
Tax refunds typically range from several hundred to several thousand dollars, with the average refund reaching almost $1,000. If you filed a tax return and haven't checked to see if you're entitled to a refund, then you should definitely see if you're eligible for one.
Getting Access to Unclaimed Assets
There's a lot of money, securities, and property that floats out there in the economy. Useful assets are very frequently transferred and forgotten about, which presents an unexpected opportunity to claim things of value.
If you think there's a chance someone has left you something in their will, that you've forgotten about a valuable asset you used to have, or are just curious, you can check to see if assets exist in your name. There are numerous state and federal databases out there that list unclaimed assets; just type in your name and see if you find anything!
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