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Making a claim on unclaimed property is not difficult.  Use the following steps:

STEP 1

Determine if you have any potential unclaimed property available to be claimed.  The same process can be used to determine if a prior business or relative may have unclaimed property.

Start with the State where you currently live.  Using the US Map for State Unclaimed Property Search provided above, select your current state and follow the instructions for the search provided by the State website.

Then, if you have lived in a different State than where you currently live, make a search for that State, following the same procedure provided above.

CLAIMING TIP—Use different variations of your name to search—the business sending in the unclaimed property may not have it titled the same as you normally use your name.

Step 2.  

If you didn’t find anything in your search, sorry, but come back and try it again, there is a constant stream of new unclaimed property being sent to the States, you may find something next time.


Step 3.  

If you did find some unclaimed property…Congratulations!  Now start the process of determining if you are The Rightful Owner.

You will find that a lot of people have the same name, but there is usually an address associated with the listed name.  That address will be the first indicator for moving unclaimed property from “potential” to “available” for claiming.  The States differ on exactly what information is initially available for review without making a formal claim, so you may need to “drill down” a little more.

Sometimes the address is not available.  In that case, a claim can be made to get more information from the State to determine if you are The Rightful Owner.

CLAIMING TIP—If you start a claim and find out during the claiming process that you are not The Rightful Owner, you can always stop the claim, but if you don’t make the claim you may never know if you are The Rightful Owner.

Step 4.  

File a claim for your found Unclaimed property.

Each State will have their own way to have a claim application for unclaimed property filed.  Just follow their instructions.  And, if you have any problems or concerns in filing a claim, you can contact us for assistance in answering questions.  If you find the process more than you want to handled, we can do the filing for a small flat fee – The fee is dependent on the assistance requested.  Use the Contact Us section to request assistance and get pricing information, but we really encourage a DIY approach.

The initial claim filing for unclaimed property usually does not require any documentation to prove that you are The Rightful Owner.  However, the States are not going to send property out to just anyone based upon a claim filed, so documentation of your right to the unclaimed property will be eventually required.

The States want to get the unclaimed property to The Rightful Owner, and, unfortunately, there is always someone out there that wants property that is not theirs to claim, so the States are diligent in the investigation of a claim.  They will request information to prove your claim and that you are The Rightful Owner.

The documentation requested will depend on the unclaimed property and what the person working the claim at the State believes is necessary to prove your claim.  In addition to a personal picture identification, current address, social security number and other contact information, they may require one, or all, of the following:

  • Death certificate
  • Statement of relationship or heir
  • Prior tax return
  • Stock certificate
  • Gift return

Remember, this list is not all inclusive, the state will decide what information is necessary to process your claim.

Also, the State will determine if you are the only available claimant.  For example, if you are claiming on an estate of a deceased parent, and have brothers or sisters, then the State will usually request information about the brother or sister and deal with them directly regarding the claim that you started.  And, in most cases, you will be required to sign an agreement that if in the future someone else makes claim to the property you receive, and proves up the claim, you will repay the new claimant the amount that the new claimant would have been entitled to receive if known at the time your claim was processed.

Step 5.  

The State accepts your claim, or denies your claim.

If your claim is accepted, the State will start the process of getting the unclaimed property to you.

CLAIMING TIP–Remember, the receipt of unclaimed property is usually a taxable event and you will receive a Form 1099 from the State to document the payment.
CLAIMING TIP—Also, always ask for current contact information for the business that has provided the unclaimed property.  The reason, there may be additional, or future, earnings from the asset that created the unclaimed property that prompted your current claim that you can and should have as The Rightful Owner, which should be followed up.

If your claim is denied, you can request the reasons for the denial, which usually is about documentation.  If the needed documentation is located in the future, a new claim can always be started.

BUT, NOTHING HAPPENS UNTIL YOU TAKE STEP 1.