Have you ever put on pants you haven’t worn for a while and in the pocket you find a $20 bill? It’s like finding money you didn’t even know you had! Imagine if you had a website you could go to where you can put in your name and state and it tells you if you may have other money that you have long forgotten about.
Companies reporting unclaimed funds to the state
This is the time of the year when companies review their checking accounts for old outstanding checks that have not yet cleared. Many types include savings accounts, phone, insurance, or utility deposits, and even paychecks. The company should send a form to the person who the check was originally written to using the last known address. This verifies the correct address and informs the individual that they still have money that belongs to them. If the person signs and replies to the letter, the bookkeeper will void the original “missing” check and reissue a new check.
If no response is received, the company must then complete another form to report that they have “Unclaimed funds”. This form is filed with the state and contains the name, address, social security #, date of the original check, what it was paid to them for, or any other information they may have. The company then can void the old outstanding check from their books and issue a check to the state, where they will input it into their system as being “Missing Money.”
How do you find “Missing Money” that might belong to you?
Go to www.missingmoney.com and search for your name and state. A list of names will show with the last known address and what company submitted the money to the state. If you believe one of the items belong to you, simply click on the item and “Request claim form” followed by selecting “Yes I can Claim”. You must fill in the required information. The state will then contact you to request more information to prove the money does indeed belong to you.
Ways to keep your money from becoming unclaimed funds
- Cash all checks you receive promptly.
- Keep records of all bank and savings accounts or W-2s/check stubs for proof of employment.
- Keep a record of all stock certificates and make sure you cash the dividend checks received.
- Keep a record of utility or telephone deposits you may have paid.
- Respond to all letters from companies asking you to confirm account balances with banks, utilities companies and stockbrokers.
- Make a list of all accounts to notify when you change your address.
- Notify everyone when you move – banks, brokers, credit card issuers, employers, insurance companies, mortgage lenders, your 401k administrator, attorney, and accountant. Also notify them if your name should change due to a marriage or divorce.
- There is no time limit for claiming lost money from states.
- You do NOT have to pay companies to locate the money for you
- If the owner is deceased and your are the rightful heir, you can still claim the money
- Most states in the U.S. are reporting on the http://www.missingmoney.com website making it easier to search places you have lived in the past
- If you own a company and have old checks still outstanding on your bank reconciliation, we can help file the necessary annual paperwork required by the states. Even if you don’t have any unclaimed funds to report, you are required to file a negative return, due yearly by November 1st.
By: Sandra Stone, Accountant