Imagine this. It's a normal day. You wake up, go to work, grab your coffee, sit down at your desk and open your computer. Browsing through the news, you see an article talking about unclaimed money sitting with the state government. Out of curiosity, you follow the rabbit trail and type in your name to the website run by your state and suddenly you find out there is a large sum of money you didn’t even know was out there with YOUR name on it. Turns out you are the sole heir to Great Uncle Dave's estate who passed away last year. You didn't even know you had a Great Uncle Dave!
Does this sound like the type of thing that only happens in your dreams? Well we are here to tell you it might not be as far-fetched as you might think.
Each state has their own way of managing unclaimed money. It could be a life insurance policy where the beneficiary can’t be located. It could be a long lost family member passed a way and the inheritance can’t be placed. Maybe you overpaid a utility bill or switched bank accounts years ago and subsequently had an unknown direct deposit. Maybe you forgot to file your taxes one year.
There’s any number of ways money ends up in a state’s unclaimed cash fund. Here are a few ways you can see if that cash belongs to you.
1) Go to your state unclaimed property website.
It is actually quite easy and the first place to start. Run a Google search for “unclaimed property in (name of state).” When you look at the Google results, among the top results should be your state’s unclaimed property website. Just look for the website near the top ending in ".gov" so you know it is a government website.
You shouldn’t have to do anything more than place your name and city in the search bar of your state’s website. If the site is asking for more than your name and city, you are probably not on the state website and you should go back to your Google search results. WARNING: This should go without saying, but don't ever give out personal data such as your social security number or bank account numbers. For the purpose of unclaimed property searches, you should only be required to provide a name and city / state.
Once you search by last name, scroll through the results and see if you can locate your name. It’s as easy as that! Be sure to check all of the states where you’ve lived or where you might have relatives!
2) Try missingmoney.com
This is a nonprofit website that is endorsed by several states and attempts to combine all of the state’s databases into one. That way you can check all the states at once! This is especially helpful if you’ve moved several times, or if you have family in other states.
3) Go to the IRS website.
If you didn’t file your taxes one year, or maybe had kids who had taxes withheld from their paycheck and you didn’t know about it, it is possible the IRS owes you money and you didn’t even know it. The IRS hangs onto unclaimed refund money for 3 years before they say “welp, finders keepers!” Here’s where you find that information: https://www.irs.gov/refunds
4) If you’ve had a FHA mortgage, you could be owed a refund
If you’ve had a FHA mortgage in the past, it is possible HUD owes you money. You will be able to easily find out this information here: https://entp.hud.gov/dsrs/refunds/
5) Unclaimed VA insurance
Perhaps a long lost relative of yours was a veteran and you have some money sitting out there you didn’t know about it. You can find this information out here: https://insurance.va.gov/UnclaimedFunds
Good luck in your search for unclaimed funds!