Last update 03-26-2017
*States Stealing Little-Used Accounts
*Unclaimed Life Insurance Benefits
*Did you get your IRS refund check
*Web Sites to Search for Unclaimed $$$

States Stealing Little-Used Accounts

By Tamara K. Salmon, Investment Company Institute as published in Bottom Line Personal, January 1, 2017

If you fail to contact the companies that manage your financial accounts every few years, the money in those accounts could be taken from you; by your state. “Unclaimed property” laws require that financial institutions, including mutual funds, banks and insurers, forfeit “forgotten” accounts to state governments. These laws were enacted so that governments could safeguard overlooked assets until their rightful owners stepped forward to reclaim them; but the states soon realized that most of these assets were never reclaimed.

Previously, accounts were unlikely to be deemed unclaimed unless a financial institution could not reach the account holder for at least seven years after mail sent to the account holder was returned as undeliverable. Now these laws can claim accounts that were never forgotten at all. Accounts might be snatched up in as little as three years simply because the account holder has not called the financial institution or logged into a password-protected online account even if mail is not being returned. Contact your state’s Department of the Treasury to learn more about unclaimed property laws where you live.

Account holders can reclaim these assets; IF they realize they have gone missing. But they still lose out on the dividends and capital gains their money did not earn while it was in state coffers. States’ liquidation of their investments can generate taxes and penalties, too.

What to do: Phone every financial institution where you have an account at least once every three years. Take this opportunity to discuss your accounts, or simply tell a representative, “I’m just calling to verify my contact information and get it on record that I have been in contact.” Logging into a password-protected account…and/or completing and returning a proxy ballot at least once every three years should prevent unclaimed property problems, too. Interacting with a financial company’s automated phone system typically will not (count).

Use (other sites at the bottom of this page, or your state’s web page) to search every state in which you have ever lived to see if you have had assets snapped up.

Check Delaware, Maryland and Massachusetts, too. Occasionally assets are sent to the state in which the financial institution is based rather than the one where the account holder lives, and many financial companies are based in these three states.

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Unclaimed Life Insurance Benefits

By Jamie Novogrod, Producer, NBC Nightly News :
Benefits that have not been collected for more than a few years after the death of a policy-holder often get turned over to the state where the policy was bought. This process -- called "escheatment" -- is mandated by state unclaimed property law.
Missing checks unclaimed property records in dozens of states. The website is run by the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators, an organization of state regulators. Here is NAUPA's own website:

1 in 600 may be owed unclaimed life insurance money

Additionally, many states offer websites where people can check unclaimed property records. NAUPA recommends that after making a stop at, Americans check unclaimed property records in every state where a loved one might have taken out a policy.

See the full artical at NBC

Don’t forget to run your business names too. I found a utility refund from my closed company. – Brian

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Did you get your IRS refund check

The IRS has about 112,000 returned refund checks due to incorrect address from 2009 alone. Are you missing a refund from past years? Update your address if you have moved after filing at

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Here is a list of a few web pages to help you find out. Eventually by law all unclaimed money, inactive bank accounts, insurance payouts, and court ordered payments are sent to the sate or federal department treasury to be held for the owner or the owners legal heirs. So if great grandpa left you some money, the state in which he lived may still be holding it for you.
The best place to start you search is in the state you live. Michigan and the Federal government provide the search and recovery for free. You might have to pay for registered letters and notarized copies, but the service is free.

US Treasury, Fiscal Services

Michigan Department of Treasury

For a nation wide search:


The following sites charge a fee for the information:



mib charges $75 to search life insurance records.

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