All states and the District of Columbia operate unclaimed property programs that hold assets and attempt to find the owners. More than $1.754 billion in unclaimed property was returned to owners in 2006 and nearly $32.877 billion in assets was being held as of 2012, according to the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators. The unclaimed money held comes from many sources, including forgotten bank accounts, stocks and bonds, pension funds, payroll checks, utility and rental deposits, accounts left at businesses that have closed and insurance payments. Businesses are required to turn over the unclaimed money to the appropriate state after a year of inactivity or no contact with the owner. State unclaimed property programs are required by law to keep the property until it is claimed by the owners.
Navigate to the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators, or NAUPA, website to access links for conducting your unclaimed money search. The NAUPA website serves as a central unclaimed property location for state program administrators and for property seekers.
Begin your search for unclaimed money by visiting the MissingMoney website, which NAUPA endorses and recommends as a starting point for your search. Use the link on the NAUPA website or type the address in a search window. Not all states participate in the MissingMoney website. In 2012, 14 states — including California, Hawaii and Maryland — were not participants.
Enter in the blue search box near the top of the MissingMoney website home page your first name, last name and the state in which you live or for which you would like to conduct a search. Click "GO." Unclaimed property laws require businesses to send funds from forgotten accounts to the last known state in which the owner resided.
Review the search results, which may include several exact or similar names from all MissingMoney participating states. The results include the owner name, the state the property is held in, the last known address of the owner, the name of the reporter if disclosed and the amount of the funds listed as more or less than $50 or $100.
Click on the results that seem like good matches and review the information. Follow the instructions if you find a match. Some states require you to visit their official unclaimed property website to complete a claim form.
Conduct a search of all MissingMoney states while on the results page by clicking in the blue search box to select "search all states and provinces" in the "State/Province" drop-down window. Alternatively, select participating states to search one at a time.
Search the unclaimed property databases of the states that do not participate in MissingMoney by clicking on the states in the map provided by MissingMoney on its website and following the search procedures. The U.S. map on the "States and Provincial Contact Information & Websites" page shows the non-participant states in gray. Alternatively, search non-participant states by clicking on the state links on the NAUPA website page, "Start Your Free Search for Money that Might be Due You."
Complete a claim form to learn more about the unclaimed money and confirm that you are the owner.
Visit the Frequently Asked Questions page on the MissingMoney website if you have problems during your search.
States do not hold unclaimed money from federal government sources. Visit the federal unclaimed property website to search for federal money.
Businesses that collect unclaimed property information, which is available under state freedom of information laws, often contact property owners to offer their services for a fee. You may conduct unlimited free searches through websites of the NAUPA, state unclaimed property programs and MissingMoney.
- National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators: What is Unclaimed Property
- MissingMoney.com: States and Provincial Contact Information & Websites
- MissingMoney.com: Home Page
- National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators: Start Your Free Search for Money that Might be Due You
- MissingMoney.com: Frequently Asked Questions
- National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators: Other Sources for Unclaimed Property
- ABC News: Show Me the Money – Top 10 Tips to Find Your Unclaimed Cash
- ABC News: How to Find Unclaimed Money Held by Local Governments
- USA.gov: Unclaimed Money from the Government