Unclaimed Funds: Don't Leave Your Money on the Table

Johnnie Padberg
Published May 28, 2023

Unclaimed Funds: Don't Leave Your Money on the Table

Have you ever thought about the billions of dollars in unclaimed funds lying around? Unclaimed assets — including forgotten bank accounts, undelivered insurance payouts, and neglected property — continue to sit idle, in wait for their rightful owners to claim them. And, there's a chance one of those owners could be you. Don't miss out on this valuable opportunity. Collect money that should be yours with this handy overview of how to locate and claim them:

Types of Unclaimed Funds

Unclaimed funds come in various forms, including but not limited to unclaimed:

1. Bank Accounts

Many bank accounts become dormant over time due to the account holder's change of address, death, or other reasons. People overlook these unclaimed accounts and remain untouched for numerous years. It is important to regularly check for any unclaimed bank accounts that may be tied to you.

Those with joint membership in an account should frequently review their accounts with the other members listed. Unclaimed funds remain held at financial institutions such as credit unions, investment companies, and insurance companies. It makes it more important for people to routinely check for any lost savings or forgotten assets that may belong to them.

2. Insurance Payouts

Unclaimed insurance payouts represent a hidden source of wealth for many people. Insurance companies should pay the beneficiaries of policies or settlements. Millions of dollars go unclaimed each year due to incomplete information and changes in contact details, meaning that individuals with entitled claims may never realize its existence. People should take advantage of recovery resources and use them to uncover potentially life-changing amounts of cash they could legally own.

3. Property

It comprises personal items such as jewelry, coins, and artwork forgotten or neglected. Unclaimed property includes valuable antiques to virtual currencies often held at state or federal treasury offices. You should research if any of their possessions remain held by your local government.

4. Stocks and Bonds

Unclaimed investments result when the investor doesn't know they own the stock or bond or need the proper documentation to claim it. Other times, this property is lost when shareholders change their address without notifying the company they own stock in or forget to update their records with a transferred bond issuer. In either case, individuals entitled to this unclaimed property should consider tracking it down as it could provide them with an unexpected financial windfall.

5. Income Tax Refunds

Every year, millions of dollars in tax refunds still need to be claimed by taxpayers. It is estimated that this year, approximately 3 million US taxpayers have yet to file their returns and collect the money they are owed. Filing a tax return is important if you have due taxes or are expecting a refund. Failure to file can mean forfeiting your funds.

While there may be various reasons why people don't submit their returns on time, no one should miss out on what could be a huge opportunity for them. If you feel you may owe the IRS or expect to get refunds, get yourself organized and head to the internet or your accountant for help filing your returns.

6. Wages

Unclaimed wages include:

• Unpaid salaries
• Overtime pay
• Accumulation of vacation and sick days
• Other gratuities owed to workers

Sometimes, individuals forget to collect their wages after leaving a job or are unaware they are eligible for them. Unclaimed wages present a real opportunity to recover lost earnings and could change their financial well-being.

Claiming Unclaimed Funds

To claim unclaimed money, you must provide personal information to the state or federal agency possessing the funds. It includes proof of identity, such as a driver's license and Social Security number, and evidence of entitlement to the funds. Individuals must keep their contact information up-to-date to ensure they receive any funds due to them.

Filing a claim for unclaimed money can be lengthy and often requires a lawyer's assistance. It is important to note that there are no guarantees when attempting to recover lost funds. Therefore, the outcome depends on the effort to research and verify the claim.

Unclaimed funds and property are a source of lost wealth that many people need to consider. There is no guarantee of success when attempting to recover lost money, but it is worth exploring. Individuals should provide proof of identity and entitlement when filing a claim for unclaimed funds and may need to enlist the help of a lawyer.


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