How to File for Unclaimed Funds

According to the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators, state governments are holding more than $30 billion in unclaimed funds. The money comes from the remnants of long-forgotten checking accounts; estates that went unclaimed; unclaimed life insurance payments; and refunded bills that never found their owners. Each state government is required to hold unclaimed property until its rightful owner files a claim for it. With a couple of simple Internet searches, finding money that is owed to you or to your close relatives is a simple task.


Step 1

Make a list of all the names you've legally gone by, and include variations. Include maiden names and previous married names. Also list all of the U.S. states and Canadian provinces you've ever lived in, or have ever done business in. You will need to file separate claims in each state or province you find money in.


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Step 2

Click on the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators website in the References section. Click on a state or province to begin your search. Also check the link to Missing to check specifically for such items as old U.S. Savings Bonds or Veterans Administration benefits that may belong to you.


Step 3

Once you've found unclaimed funds that could possibly be yours, follow the online instructions, and claim your money. Write down the claim number, place it in a file folder along with the lists you've made, and wait for the claim form to arrive in the mail.

Step 4

Once you receive your claim form, you may be asked to provide a copy of state issued identification, along with any documents relating to the claim, such as proof that you lived at a former address. Don't worry if you don't have all the documents they are requesting. Many times, the government can determine you are the rightful owner based on the information you submit.


Step 5

Make a copy of your completed form and place it in your file folder while you are waiting for your claim to be processed, and approved. If approved, your check should arrive in six months or sooner.