Hey you! (Yes, YOU!) Have you searched the Unclaimed Property database?
Recently, my uncle Rick Bloom wrote an article for the Observer-Eccentric newspaper about unclaimed property and how easy it is to find unclaimed property in your name. Unclaimed property, I learned, is any property that goes abandoned or unclaimed for a specific period of time. Things like a bank account with no activity, the contents of a safety deposit box, uncashed dividends or payroll checks would all be considered unclaimed property. Each state has a process for dealing with the property and returning it to its rightful owner. I read the article and thought to myself, “I wonder what would pop up if I searched my name?” (It’s always fun to google yourself, right?)
What started as me just searching my name, my sibling’s names and my parents turned into a rabbit hole of searching for my friends, family, and neighbors. Well, what are the results? So far, I’ve found over $15,000 in unclaimed property belonging to people in my immediate circle (sadly, nothing for me). Some examples:
- My mother in law found a $5,000 residual from a Metlife insurance policy she was unaware of (hopefully this find also earned me some daughter-in-law points)
- Friends found $3,000 in stock that had been gifted to their children from their grandparents (the company underwent a merger and their shares had been misplaced in the transfer process)
- A relative found a $300 reimbursement from Southwest Airlines
Once you identify the property, you will need to mail in some documentation to collect the property. The process is relatively simple.
So, how do you check the database for yourself? Visit the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrator’s (NAUPA) website at www.unclaimed.org to get started. Unfortunately, the databases are run state by state, so you’ll need to check each state you have ever lived in.
Given we’re all stuck at home for the foreseeable future, there are no excuses when it comes to checking the database. If you find property belonging to you, I’d love to hear! Maybe we can even get up to $25,000 in returned unclaimed property! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with what you’ve uncovered.