How To Find Missing Money

How To Find Missing Money

Do you think that you might have unclaimed money somewhere? No, I’m not talking about money that’s lost down in your couch cushions or out in your car. I’m talking about lost or unclaimed property (think utility deposits or old bank accounts or safe deposit boxes), pensions, and savings bonds. Every year, across the U.S. millions of dollars, go unclaimed and the money sits there waiting for its rightful owner to claim it. Perhaps there is unclaimed money out there from your parents or other relatives, just waiting for you to find it. You don’t know until you check it out, and here’s how.

Why Is There So Much Unclaimed Money?

Most commonly, the reasons for unclaimed money include misaddressed mail or checks or notifications that weren’t forwarded after a person moved.  If you think you may be missing money out there, you first need to know where to look so that you can apply simple methods for getting the money in your hands. Here are some secure places to look.

  1. The Internal Revenue Service: Did you know that every year, thousands of income tax refund checks are returned to the IRS? This usually happens because the taxpayer has moved or was sent to an incomplete or improper address. Simply, contact the IRS to help you track down any lost refunds or unclaimed money. It’s important to note that you only have three years to claim any outstanding refund – after three years the money becomes the property of the U.S Treasury.
  2. State Departments of Taxation: State tax refunds also tend to go unclaimed after because of the same reason tax refunds checks go unclaimed. To find unclaimed money, check the website unclaimed.org– it allows you to search by clicking on a state, territory, or province from a map.
  3. Failed or forgotten pension plan: If you’re looking for that old pension account that you forgot about, or perhaps you remember that you should be getting one from a previous job, then you’ll want to check out the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, which offers a search database that covers defunct company pension plans. If you worked for a company whose pension plan failed, you may be able to get some money back.
  4. Unclaimed funds or property from old bank accounts: When it comes to finding lost money, you can’t get much better than MissingMoney.com. This website allows you to search the official database of the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA) as well as your individual state unclaimed property databases. Don’t forget to check other states where you have lived in the past, as well as your maiden name.
  5. Life Insurance Policies: Did you know if you own a life insurance policy from a company that demutualized, the policy may owe you cash or stock; if you had a relative pass away, there may be unclaimed life insurance benefits waiting for you to claim. Check out demutualization.com to find lost heirs and beneficiaries.
  6. Retirement Plans: If you’ve changed jobs, it’s possible that you may have a small balance in the retirement plan from your previous employer that you’ve forgotten to claim. The National Registry of Unclaimed Retirement Benefits is a great resource to find retirement place account balances that have been left unclaimed by you or deceased loved one.
  7. The U.S. Treasury: Finally, there is one more investment that commonly gets misplaced, simply because of the duration from purchase to maturity: savings bonds. If you’ve lost track of your savings bonds, rest assured, you’re not alone. If you know the social security number on the bonds or the date of issue, you can visit the Treasury Direct Service to see about getting your bonds reissued or replaced.