There are many types of unclaimed assets – back wages, old retirement plans, refunds, old bank accounts and savings bonds. Periodically, a company will send you a letter stating they found an unclaimed asset and they can help you claim it for a fee. Most companies will only do this for assets with a value that makes it worth the effort for them. However, what they don’t tell you is that you can find unclaimed assets and totally claim them for free. How do you do this?
Places to find unclaimed assets
Each state has a database of unclaimed assets, and there are sites that list federal sources of unclaimed assets. Fortunately, all these sites are listed at the usa.gov website. Start with the most obvious first states where you lived. If you know there is a possibility of unclaimed tax refunds, pensions, or back wages, check those sites next.
What to do if you have unclaimed assets
If you get a “hit” and have unclaimed assets, the next step is to file a claim for those assets. This is fairly easy. The state will request a form and some supporting documentation, such as verification of the address where you lived when you owned the asset. Before you know it, you will have a check sent to you.
What to do if a deceased family member has unclaimed assets
This is a little trickier, and all the more reasons to check for unclaimed assets before someone dies. If the asset is large enough, it may require the executor to open probate. Depending on the estate, the fees and attorney costs may outweigh the benefit. Each state has different requirements, so check into what is needed to help you decide whether to place a claim.