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Basic information on unclaimed property

You may have seen legal notices in local newspapers, your mail box may hold a letter of invitation and the internet entices you to do it. What is it? It is a search for unclaimed property or money. Some research was done and here follows basic information on unclaimed property.

Well, it is true! There are billions of unclaimed dollars sitting in state coffers waiting for rightful owners to be found.

Are you thinking, it’s probably a scam or highly unlikely that any amount of the billions could be yours?

Remember, by law unclaimed utility deposits, insurance refunds, dividend payments and the contents of safe deposit boxes must be handed over to state governments after a defined period of dormancy if the rightful owner or heir cannot be located. Sounding more like you could be richer soon?

People move more frequently, forwarding addresses lapse, names are changed and the paper trail isn’t complete on these transactions leading up to an inability to locate you. If you have done any of these actions you could have money to claim. Perhaps someone you know died without leaving word about a policy or an account, you may be the only living heir. Now are you seeing how it is possible that so many people have unclaimed money?

State governments must hold onto this unclaimed property indefinitely, returning it to rightful owners eventually, either for free or for a nominal fee.

In all, state governments held about $22.8 billion in unclaimed assets in 2003, the last year for which the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators has figures.

Now consider that 953,000 claims resulted in $876 million in property being reunited with its owners in 2003. That’s an average of $920 per claim, though most state treasurers will say the average is really around $150. Is this now getting more realistic for you?

While the dollar value varies you will find the treasures found also vary. The most unusual finds come from the contents of safe deposit boxes. Silver sets, pocket watches, jewelry, military medals, property deeds, rare coins, even artwork or original manuscripts, all the things we place in them for safekeeping can turn up years later.

Each state maintains an online database where you can search for unclaimed property. You can locate yours by searching the Web or if you would rather search all states at once, log onto www.CashUnclaimed.com.

The sites also provide instructions for filing a claim, which usually means having your signature notarized on a form and, in the case of a deceased family member’s property, providing proof that you are entitled to the money.

It is fun and exciting to search for yourself and friends as well as family members. Doing a search can pay off.

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When you perform a free trial search on CashUnclaimed.com we display the total dollar amount in unclaimed funds that we show reported by the appropriate government agencies. This does not guarantee that this money is 100% absolutely yours. What it means is that there is that total dollar amount shown by government agencies under your name and common variations of your name at the last time we had the information available to us was reported as unclaimed and is able to have a claim form submitted to be paid that amount. For more information please read our terms of use by clicking the link above.