There's A Lot of Unclaimed Property, But Which States Have Most of It?

Monica Jackson
Published Sep 23, 2023

There's A Lot of Unclaimed Property, But Which States Have Most of It?

There's a very substantial amount of unclaimed properties in the United States, totaling up to $42 billion dollars. However, the distribution of these unclaimed properties is not evenly spread across all states — some states have more than others.

If you've lived in a particular state for a long time or have lived in other states before, it's essential for you to know which states have a surplus of unclaimed properties and which ones do not. This knowledge can come in handy when searching for unclaimed assets.

What Exactly Qualifies as Unclaimed Property?

Unclaimed property can be a pretty vague concept. One quick and easy-to-remember qualifier for it though is this: it's any kind of asset that has a considerable monetary value. The most common types of unclaimed property are:
  • Safety Deposit Box Contents
  • Inherited Property
  • Property Seized by Financial Institutions
Properties are considered to be unclaimed when (1) they enter the hands of insurance companies, legal or financial institutions, or the government, and (2) it's obvious that they legally belong to someone, even if it's not clear who that is. Alternatively, miscommunications make it so that people aren't notified when there is an unclaimed property waiting to be claimed by them.

Unclaimed property can't just be arbitrarily seized and utilized by institutions, including the government, so they usually just remain untouched for years before someone eventually claims them.

Which States Have The Most Unclaimed Property?

Unsurprisingly, states with larger populations and more robust financial sectors tend to have higher amounts of unclaimed properties. States such as North Dakota, Kansas, or Wyoming aren't likely to have as much stockpiles of unclaimed properties (but that doesn't mean they don't have any!).

The following states have the most unclaimed properties available.

  • Washington
Home to the major international trading and networking hub that is Seattle, Washington State has almost $1 billion dollars in general unclaimed assets (funds and properties) available in the state. As the state sees a considerable amount of in and out migration and financial transactions, accounts, money, and property being left unclaimed is quite common.
  • Connecticut
Although Connecticut has a relatively small population of people, the amount of unclaimed assets (funds and properties) in the state is absolutely huge for its size at $750 million. The state is essentially an enclave for upper east coast financial and political big shots, so understandably there's quite a lot of leftover assets that get lost in the shuffle whenever someone moves to and from there. If you've ever stayed in Connecticut, have done business there, or know someone who lived there, it's definitely possible there are some unclaimed assets waiting on you in the state.
  • California
California has upwards of $8 billion worth of unclaimed assets (funds and properties) in the state, making it one of the most common places to find unallocated property and other items. Unlike many other states where unclaimed property often consists of large, high-value assets, many of the unclaimed properties in California are smaller in value, meaning that potentially tens of millions of people are eligible for something.

Given how populous the state is, how many people have lived there previously, and how the nature of unclaimed assets in the state is more small-time, if you've ever had any business in California, it's highly probable you have an unclaimed asset of some kind in your name.
  • New York
The biggest stockpile of unclaimed assets (funds and properties) in the United States happens to be in New York, with almost $13 billion dollars worth of stuff up for grabs. As one of the world's largest financial hubs, it's unsurprising that assets frequently get left behind here. The state is very populous, home to many financial institutions, sponsors numerous insurance companies, and is the base for many NGOs. If you've ever lived in New York, there's a good chance there are assets you've missed here.

Finding Assets That Belong to You

Losing track of your assets or not being informed of their existence can happen in a multitude of ways. Regardless of you're awareness of them though, these assets still legally belong to you and you're entitled to access them.

Unfortunately, there's no central database for unclaimed assets in the United States. If you're on the lookout for some, then knowing where to look first can definitely cut down on your search time.


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