Unclaimed Funds: A Modern-Day Treasure Hunt

treasure chest full of unclaimed funds

What are unclaimed funds?  Did you know you can find unclaimed funds held by the government that might be owed to you? There is over $50 billion, yes billion(!), in unclaimed cash and assets outstanding in the United States.  If you have ever moved, changed jobs, filed a tax return, or had a relative pass away, there is a chance you may have unclaimed assets. The Michigan Department of Treasury alone has millions of dollars in lost or forgotten assets from things such as: dormant bank accounts, uncashed checks, uncashed dividends, overpayments, security deposits, valuables left in safe deposit boxes, and stock certificates that have been abandoned at financial institutions. After a designated period of time with no activity or contact, the property becomes “unclaimed” and, by law, must be turned over to the state by the bank or company entrusted with the asset.

Be cautious not to fall for scams from websites/calls who pretend to be from the government and offer to send you unclaimed money for a fee. Government agencies will not call you about unclaimed money or assets and charge nothing to file the claims.  The real agencies will, however, ask for personal information so be sure you are using an appropriate site to search for your missing treasure.

To begin your treasure hunt, you should first search all states you have lived in.  Verify how to claim your money, as each state has its own rules about how to prove that you are the owner and claim the asset.  To be directed to the legitimate individual state website start here.  (Be sure to check each state you have lived or done business in!)

For Michigan, you can skip this step and start on Michigan’s unclaimed property website.  Click on “Get Started” and type in the claimant’s last name.

Next, if your information is found, select the box(s) next to property matching your name then click “Claim.”  A list of these properties will be displayed, you will have to enter the relationship for each.  Once finished, click “File Claim” at the top of the page.  It will ask for all your personal information for verification purposes on the next page.  From there, once the claims have been processed, you may be required to fill out additional paperwork that may also require notarization.  The department will walk you through the necessary steps and communicate via letter or email.

Remember, exact name matches will be shown first and similar names to the name you entered will follow.  It may be useful to go through the entire results list.  If you have had relatives pass away in which you were in line as a beneficiary, you should search their names as well to see if anything slipped through the cracks during the estate settlement process.

If you have success in your treasure hunt, feel free to share your luck with us!  We hope this helps some of our clients and friends recover monies owed to them. Happy Hunting!

 

Other Useful Links:

Further Explanation by USA.Gov

MI Life Insurance and Annuity Search Service (LIAS)

Unclaimed Pension Plans Search

 

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