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Unclaimed Property

Millions of dollars are turned over annually to each State by businesses and organizations who cannot locate the owners.  This includes intangible assets such as bank accounts, stock certificates, checks, unclaimed wages, refunds, and gift certificates.  States are required to make an effort to reunite this unclaimed property with the rightful owner.  Questions exist at what point businesses and organizations must transfer funds to the state and to which state (the last known State of Residence or State of the transaction) or to what level of effort must businesses or organizations must make an effort to return the finds.  In one known case the consumer resided in one state for nearly three decades at the same address and telephone number yet funds were transferred to the State as Unclaimed.  It is known that funds left with financial groups is often turned over to the State so let the Consumer Beware.

Despite having no reason beyond curiosity, my search uncovered Unclaimed Funds for myself and within two weeks of filing the claim a check was received from the State.  At no time was any information provided on who transferred the funds to the State, from what location or what timeframe.

  1. Even if you have no reasonable expectation of finding anything, put a note on your calendar to annually check your state for possible Unclaimed Property.  This search was done from pure curiosity which recovered $30.00 for 5 minutes of work ... and $360 per hour is good work.

  2. From some research, there are no standards between the States on handling Unclaimed Property and different types of unclaimed property may require different processes and/or agencies.  Finding what is yours is not necessarily in the best interests of the State.  Do your research and confirm your findings and understandings with the involved State(s) as needed.  Web based information can be outdated as States may change their policies, procedures and agencies almost at will.  For a starting point conduct an Internet search for "unclaimed property laws by state". 

  3. NOTE:  After a period of time, as define by law,
                the State quietly takes ownership of unclaimed property.

State of Arkansas           https://www.ark.org/auditor/unclprop/index.php/search/searchCrit
                                      For assistance call 1-800-252-4648

State of Mississippi        http://www.TreasurerLynnFitch.com/Pages/default.aspx
                                       State Treasurer's Office: 1-601-359-3600

State of Tennessee        http://www.ClaimItTN.gov

                                      For assistance call 1-800-252-4648

OTHER STATES               Perform an Internet search using your state name and the words unclaimed
                                      property (example: New York unclaimed property).

WORD OF CAUTION        Each State sets their own policies and procedures and departments/agencys that
                                      handles Unclaimed Property ... there is no guarantee this is a "one stop shop" to
                                      find or file claims for all types of Unclaimed Property held by the State that can
                                      be made in a single quick effort.  Your Unclaimed Property eventually becomes
                                      the property of the State; one rule that apparently is consistent across States.

                                      There are no standards, conventions or regulation between the States.
                                      Do your online research then confirm with the designated State Department
                                      or Agency that your information is current and that you confirm your personal
                                      understanding of their process, step by step, is correct.  Online research is a
                                      great way to get initial information but you have NO GUARANTEE the
                                      information is still accurate at that time.  Do it right the first time and verify!