YOU can claim hundreds of dollars from your deceased relative’s estate up to 10 years after their death – here’s how to find the missing money.
Unclaimed funds might be waiting for you as Americans are advised to check their state database to see if they have any free money.
Funds often come from uncashed checks, unclaimed insurance policies, dormant bank accounts and forgotten utility deposits.
In the United States, there is currently more than $7 billion in unclaimed property just waiting to be claimed free of charge, according to the WSPA.
According to the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA), nearly 1 in 10 Americans have unclaimed money or property.
This includes stocks, refunds, travelers checks, annuities, trust distributions and more.
More than $3 billion is returned by states each year, according to NAUPA.
South Carolina State Treasurer Curtis Loftis told WSPA that the estates of deceased family members are not always settled as many believe.
Curtis explained, “And the money will appear 3 years, 5 years and 10 years after the estate is settled.”
“So if your father or grandfather died 10 or 12 years ago, be sure to check their name. Check their wives’ names,” Curtis continued.
South Carolina residents can check the names on the State Treasurer’s Office website by clicking “Unclaimed Properties.”
Below, we explain the various tools and resources available to help others across the country claim their money.
FIND YOUR MONEY
The most popular way to find the money owed to you is through unclaimed.org.
The website is operated by NAUPA, an organization committed to reuniting owners of lost or unclaimed property.
NAUPA is part of the National Association of State Treasurers network, so you can rest assured that it is a legit site.
Although each state has unclaimed property laws, the NAUPA site aims to make navigation easier by providing links to individual unclaimed property programs.
The search is free, but you can pay for a third-party service if you wish.
However, third-party services can be expensive and will often reveal the same information as the free service.
If you need to search for unclaimed property in multiple states, you can use NAUPA’s missingmoney.com.
This will search participating state databases to help you locate unclaimed property.
In many cases, there is no limitation period for claiming what is owed to you.
But the sooner you can research and file a claim, the better.
CREDIT CARD REWARDS
If you have a credit card from a major bank or airline, chances are they have a decent rewards program which may include cash back.
If you haven’t set up your rewards account, you could be missing out on hundreds of dollars in cash back rewards.
Although each institution has its own set of rules, there is usually a point system for every dollar you earn.
You can then redeem your points for a number of prizes, including cash.
To claim your cash back, you usually have the option to link to a checking account for direct deposit or enter your mailing address to receive a paper check.
If you filed a tax return but never received a refund that you think you are owed, you can check with the IRS.
Sometimes tax refunds are not deliverable if the information you provided to the IRS is not up to date.
Other times, returns are affected by identity theft, fraud, incomplete information, or other errors.
If you think a former employer owes you back wages, there’s a website for that too.
The US Department of Labor’s (WHD) Wages and Hours Division has a database of wages owed to workers that you can search by employer name.
If you find that wages are owed to you, you can submit a claim.
If you had a 401k with a former employer but left that company, you may be eligible for these funds.
The National Unclaimed Retirement Benefits Registry can help.
Use their website to search for unclaimed retirement funds.
This is yet another safe and free way to trace the funds owed to you.
Just have your Social Security number handy to begin the claims process.
If you received savings bonds as a child but forgot about them, there is a way to recover that unclaimed money.
The US Treasury Hunt website offers a free search function that might show:
- Matured savings bonds or treasury bills that no longer pay interest
- Missing payments on Series H or HH Savings Bonds, or
- Missing payments for securities held in Legacy Treasury Direct
To perform a search, you will need your social security number, so it is useful to have it handy.
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