Did You Know? Unclaimed Property Overview

I remember having a meeting with Andrew Mitchell when I first started Sunny Care Services and he suggested I add an unclaimed property search to my client service checklist. “Unclaimed Property? What is that?” I thought. “And what are the odds that someone would have land/house/cars/etc in their name and not know about it?”.

Well, I now know that unclaimed property is actually not typically physical, tangible property at all. Unclaimed/Abandoned property or funds are “accounts in financial institutions or companies that have had no activity generated or contact with the owner for one year or longer”, according to NAUPA. The Tennessee Department of Treasury lists typical forms of unclaimed funds:

  • Savings or checking accounts
  • Stocks
  • Uncashed dividends
  • Security deposits
  • IRS refunds
  • Customer refunds never claimed
  • Credit balance for overpayment
  • Employee payroll check that was not cashed
  • Securities (stocks, mutual funds, bonds)
  • Dividend check that was not cashed
  • Utility security deposits
  • Unredeemed money orders of gift certificates

Essentially, if you or a loved changed addresses and a company was trying to get a refund to you and couldn’t locate you within a year, those funds are then held by the state until you claim them. What this means then is that you could have money that belongs to your family that is being held by the state and, in fact, in a recent article by Clarksville Now, Tennessee is currently holding up to $1 Billion in unclaimed property.

By doing a quick search of your last name or your lost loved one’s last name (or business name, if he/she was a business owner), you can see quickly if there is any money owed.

If you do see your name or your lost loved one’s name, by clicking the link you can also see what type of unclaimed fund is owed and roughly how much is owed.

In the image below, I did a quick search for last name “SMITH” and clicked on one of the names listed. You can see below that this person is owed over $250 from an insurance company. If you are curious to know exactly how much money is owed to you before you follow the claims process, you can typically call the Dept. of Treasury and give the Property ID number listed and they can give you the full amount.

From my perspective, the claims process is much simpler if the owner of the unclaimed property is still living, so I encourage all of my clients to do searches on themselves and their loved ones periodically. However, if you are wanting to claim funds on behalf of a lost loved one, you will need to have access to the following documents/information of him/her:

  • A copy of the death certificate
  • His/Her social security number
  • A copy of his/her id (driver’s license)
  • Proof of address- showing that your loved one lived at the address listed on the claim
  • A copy of the obituary

This is clearly not a high priority item if you have recently lost a family member, but if that person did not leave behind any assets it can be helpful to recoup some funds that were owed to them, especially if you are having to pay for funeral services or other costs related to closing out his or her life.

Of course this can also just be another thing added to the dreaded to-do list when you are grieving a loved one, but Sunny Care Services can help take care of tasks like this for you.

Let us help.

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