Earning money is a rewarding prospect, but what about stumbling across some without having to do anything? That’s what millions of people in America are doing, and there’s a very good reason why. The National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA) says that there is at least $42 billion in property left unclaimed in the United States. If some of that money belongs to a member of your family, you’ll want to find a way to claim it.
Steps to Claiming Your Unclaimed Cash
The most common sources of unclaimed property are bank accounts, stocks, bonds, dividends, IRS refunds, and security deposits. However, unclaimed property can take any form, so keep your eyes peeled as you go through the following steps of discovery:
Search the Web
Using whatever information you have, conduct a search on the internet. Online asset searches are easy, and with the right website they’re free. Start with sites like MissingMoney.com or Unclaimed.org, since they are both recommended by NAUPA. NOTE: The more information you have on a person, the more property you could potentially find.
Check the Treasury
Go online to the National Treasury website and select the state in which you or your family member lives. Here, you will find any unclaimed property being held by the state. Be sure to do a search in all the states you or your family member has lived in the past, especially those from long ago. NOTE: A genealogy study might help you find relatives you didn’t know you had.
Visit the IRS
Nobody wants to go anywhere the IRS, but searching their website might help you find and claim unclaimed money. Did you know that undeliverable mail is a huge problem for the IRS, and that their shelves are packed with unclaimed returns, dividends, and released property? If you had a relative who passed away without settling the score with the IRS, you could be one of the lucky people who has a good experience with the Internal Revenue Service monster.
Each state has its own procedure on how to claim unclaimed property. Contact your state representative’s office for specific questions if the instructions on the website are unclear. There are numerous third-party services that help citizens claim their money, and while using those services might be beneficial in some regards, clients should never agree to pay more than 15% of their claim for the service.