Military Families, Stretching Your Dollars? States May Have Your Money!
When you join the military, you travel and move frequently. Relocation just becomes a fact of life. So, how many states have you lived in? Is it three, four, six, ten? And, with everything on your mind like planning, organizing, packing, moving and even scouting your new community, isn’t it just possible you may have forgotten a thing or two? Like updating someone with a forwarding address?
See State Resource list here.
If this happens, and a company, organization or government agency can’t locate you, but they have assets or cash that belong to you, by law, they just can’t keep it. They must, after a certain period of dormancy, ‘escheat’ or transfer the assets to the State of your last known address. As a result, all 50 States, acting as your trustee, have gobs of funds just sitting in their ‘unclaimed property’ coffers. And, they are anxious to return it to the rightful owner, for free. That owner might just be you!
Where do these funds and assets come from? They may be from dormant checking accounts, savings accounts, certificate of deposits, gift certificates, unpaid wages, commissions, uncashed checks, death benefits, dividends, insurance payments, money orders, refunds, security deposits, stocks, bond interest, paid up life insurance policies, customer deposits or over-payments, or the proceeds of safe deposit box auctions. (Real estate is not generally included.)
So don’t delay! The Military Family Network™, has compiled a complete list of “Unclaimed Property” departments for all 50 States and their web addresses. On the State website, you will find an online search feature where you only need to enter your name. (Some of the searches allow you to get more detailed if, for instance, you have specific knowledge about a lost asset.) If you happen to be one of the lucky recipients, the State’s website will direct you further on how to submit your claim. Most of this filing can be done online, too.
One word of caution: There are plenty of companies out there who will do this search for you for a finder’s fee or percentage of your claim. You don’t need to pay this if you conduct your own search. The States never charge for this service, and as you can see, by visiting a State Resource list , it’s a simple and fun thing that you can easily do on your own.
For more information, there is a non-profit organization that you might find helpful called the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators located on the web at http://www.unclaimed.org/.
About the Author: Megan Turak is a founder of The Military Family Network™ and its Executive Vice President. The Military Family Network™, is an online news, information, resource and referral service for the military community and the author of Your Military Family Network, a national resource book covering every aspect of military life. Turak has five years with the Department of Veterans Affairs and is the author of several published articles providing instruction and guidance on life issues for the military community.