Saturday, October 1, 2016

Claim It or Lose It

Massive amounts of money (app. $41 billion) are declared unclaimed and ready for cash-strapped state governments to absorb!

Did you move several times? Have you found all the accounts your deceased parents ever held? Did you ever cash out that mutual fund you opened as a kid? You may be pleasantly surprised by going to, the website for the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators.

Stocks, bonds, bank accounts, insurance policies all fall under unclaimed or abandoned property. States use the cash and investment earnings as general revenue. These funds have become so critical to state budgets that recent changes result in your losing your assets even faster:

1. Seven years, the time in which you had to claim your property, has now been reduced to five and in some states three years!!

2. The definition of abandoned property (the return of undeliverable mail) has been changed to lack of contact. Even if you have been receiving statements your property is considered lost if you have not contacted the financial institution for a certain period of time!

Contact means:
1. calling
- speaking with a rep - automated lines Do Not count.
2. emailing
3. returning a proxy ballot
4. written correspondence.

Direct deposit, direct withdrawal, payroll deduction or reinvesting dividends Do Not count as contact!

Financial institutions typically ask for updated personal information every three years or so. Even if nothing has changed, make sure you respond. If you have not had contact with a company for some time, make the effort to verify or update your present address and phone number.

Be $ Smart - stay in touch with all your financial institutions to demonstrate you have not abandoned your accounts.