Thought Leadership Thursday
Do You Have Unclaimed Property?
Thought Leadership Thursday Article
It has been a privilege to serve as the President of the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators. As we begin to wrap up a financially and emotionally tough year for many and approach the holiday season, I want to use this space to remind everyone to check if you or your family has unclaimed property. In fiscal year 2019, states returned over $3 billion dollars to their rightful owners. NAUPA estimates that 1 in 10 people have unclaimed property. Is any of it yours?
How Do I Find If I Have Unclaimed Property?
The best thing to do is to search each state’s Unclaimed Property database. You can find your state’s website at unclaimed.org/search. You can search by name or by town. If you find your name on the list, you can make a claim for free. You can also search for the names of your friends and family, and let them know about unclaimed properties that may belong to them!
What if I’ve lived in more than one state?
Check missingmoney.com, the official database for unclaimed property programs nationwide.
What Do I Need to Claim Property?
The claims process should be straightforward, but—as to be expected with claims of cash or certain property—it will require you to provide proof of ownership, which may consist of several documents. Be sure to provide all requested materials to avoid a delay in processing.
How Do You Keep Property From Becoming Unclaimed?
· Keep a record of all bank accounts.
· Indicate your interest in and awareness of all accounts by contacting the holder at least once every three years.
· Record all stock certificates and be sure to cash all dividends received.
· Record all utility deposits, including telephone, cable, and electricity deposits.
· Prepare a check list of all accounts to be notified when you change your address. Share this list with a family member or trusted advisor.
· Notify your bank, broker, credit card issuer, employer, 401K administrator, life and health insurance contact, mortgage lender, doctor, attorney, accountant, retirement fund, investment account, mutual fund, safe deposit box account, and any others of your name and/or address changes due to marriage, divorce or other legal action.
· Notify your business contacts of your change of address when you move and when the post office notifies you that your address has been changed, even if your physical location remains the same.
· Cash all checks promptly upon receipt, no matter how small.
As we head into Thanksgiving, I want to wish everyone a safe and happy holiday and leave you with some things I’m thankful for. I’m thankful for the thoughtful, diligent, and passionate work of our state agencies. I’m thankful for the expertise, partnership, and generosity of our corporate affiliate organizations. I am thankful for both my colleagues here in Massachusetts and my colleagues across the country, especially those that served in leadership roles during my Presidency. I am thankful for the NAST staff, especially my fearless leader Jeremy Dawson who help keep me on track and keep the train running. I am thankful for my family and friends who support me in my personal and professional life. Lastly, I am thankful for the support and friendship of NAST President Deborah Goldberg, without whom I would not get to do the job I love every day.
Mark William Bracken, J.D.
Assistant Treasurer & Director of Unclaimed Property, Massachusetts
President, National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators