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10 Tips On How To Locate Unclaimed Money
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What is and why is there unclaimed money?
Unclaimed Money or Property encompasses any financial obligation that is due and owed to another party (customer, vendor, employee, contributor, etc.). The key rule to remember is that this property never becomes the organization's property - it always belongs to the person or entity owed. Unfortunately, many organizations do not realize that un cashed checks, escrow balances, customer deposits, mysterious credits, and unclaimed payroll and insurance benefits qualify as unclaimed property. These organizations are often referred to as the Holder of the abandoned money or property.
1. Once the abandoned money or property is remitted to [escheated] to the State in which the Owner was last known to have resided the "dormancy period" for that type of abandoned property has expired. The typical dormancy periods in most States of three to five years that means that an organization can only keep these items on their books and retain the associated funds for this period of time and then it must escheat / remit the funds to the appropriate State. Once the abandoned money reaches the State, the money or property is called referred to as unclaimed money or property.
2. An issue can be that can have his abandoned money or property escheated to a State in which the Owner has never lived. If the Holder of the abandoned money or property is headquarters in a different State, the abandoned money will be escheated / remitted to that State. For example many large publicly traded Companies with office or branches throughout the country are headquartered in a State such as Delaware.
3. Unfortunately, the laws governing the unclaimed money are both complex and vary from State to State. Complex for both the Owner of the unclaimed money and the Holder of the abandoned money. The challenge with regard to unclaimed property laws is that they are complex. Each state has its own set of laws. Even if you only have property to report to one state, many states require the filing of "negative" reports, meaning it is your obligation as an organization to tell them you have nothing to report. But you very likely have liability to more than one state, each with its own dormancy periods and rules on how to report each of the more than 100 different property types that can become classified as unclaimed property.
4. The format of the State's unclaimed money database also varies widely:
• The fields of information or data points are varies and not consistent; many States by law cannot display the actual dollar amount
• If a dollar amount is displayed and the amount is "$0.00" or "unknown", that does NOT mean that there is no unclaimed money but rather the unclaimed property cannot valued. Examples would be if the unclaimed property is stock(s) or a Bond whose value can change daily. IF the State has not yet sold the stock(s) or Bond. Another example would be jewelry or precious coins found in an abandoned Bank Safety Deposit Box. Its value is moot and cannot be accurately valued.
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