Archive for the ‘Unclaimed Money’ Category

Most residents of GA State may not be aware about State unclaimed property. If they did, certainly the $684 million Georgia unclaimed property wouldn’t have ballooned to $900 million during the current fiscal year. As mandated by US law, the State collects idle financial assets from various businesses, insurance companies, banks and other financial establishments every year. Financial assets that have been abandoned and whose owners haven’t been located for a a few years are ‘escheated’ to the State as Georgia unclaimed property. Here’s part of an article on Georgia unclaimed money written by an unclaimed property expert:

Georgia’s Unclaimed Property Law or escheat law which originates from feudal laws in England require abandoned and forgotten assets such as bank accounts, income tax refunds, uncashed checks, uncollected wages, insurance premium overpayments, gift certificates, cash dividends on stocks and mineral deposits, and others to be turned-over to the hands of the state after a specified ‘dormancy period’. This period for Georgia is 5 years and less for other financial assets.”

Escheat laws were passed to protect citizens’ lost money- giving the State responsibility for the safekeeping of residents’ unclaimed money and property lest the financial entities holding them keep it for themselves. Some criticize that some States are seizing citizens’ unclaimed funds for the purpose of balancing their budgets. “When they are used the way they were intended, which is as a mechanism to help reunite property owners with their lost or abandoned property, then I think they’re a good thing,” says Atlanta lawyer John Coalson who specializes in Georgia unclaimed money. “When they’re used as a means for states to simply raise money, then I think states ought to call a tax ‘a tax’ and not just take people’s property.”

Whichever way the State uses citizens’ unclaimed property, there’s no question that more residents should check if they are owed part of the $900 million GA unclaimed money pie.

Atlanta resident and grade school teacher Sheila Sellers found out she had lost money in her name. She got a letter from the GA Department of Revenue informing her of a substantial amount of cash- $1700 from old stocks and a forgotten bank account from out of state. “Right in time for Christmas. I plan on being out the day after Thanksgiving,” said Sellers in a WGCL News report.

Other residents may want to check themselves too. Almost a billion dollars unclaimed money means good odds of coming up with something. All they have to do is go online to do a search for unclaimed money.

The Utah State Treasurer is looking for 25,000 individuals and businesses who have lost track of their financial assets. Most of the names that are owed millions of dollars in Utah unclaimed property are probably oblivious of the fact that they have state unclaimed money in their name- the money wouldn’t have piled-up otherwise. Right now, the unclaimed funds in the Beehive State have piled-up to an excess of $100 million!

 

Every year people lose track of their assets due to a change in address and neglecting to leave behind a forwarding address.. When financial establishments can’t locate the rightful owners of abandoned assets like bank accounts, uncashed checks, and insurance policies, they are required by escheat laws to turn these over to the state after 5 years. The last example (insurance) makes up a quarter of Utah unclaimed money accounts, says Utah unclaimed property administrator Kim Oliver. “Maybe your mom or dad bought you a life insurance policy when you were a little kid. You’ve moved since then and Prudential couldn’t find you when the ownership policies were cashed out. So if you think you were with this firm, you could be getting something.” Oliver is talking about Prudential Properties who changed to stockholder format from policyholder format after which thousands of couldn’t be contacted for their payouts. This in a report from local newspaper The Deseret News.

 

With the cost of food, fuel and basic commodities going-up, Americans are scrambling to find ways to get extra money just to get by. Doing an unclaimed money search can be one of the quickest (and legal) ways to extra funds in your pocket. Who knows? You may missing money right now and not even know it.

With the weak dollar and the current state of the US economy, quick extra cash would most certainly be a blessing for most Americans right now. A recent story in “The Independent” reported that a record 28 million Americans are relying on food stamps to survive. Is this The Great Depression ’08? Not quite, but across the U.S, rising fuel, the housing slump and national credit crunch is forcing Americans to make lifestyle changes. Fact is, more and more people all over the country are working extra hours and looking for ways earn a few more bucks to make ends meet. Ironically, a lot of them might not have to look any further than their State Treasury Department. Not many people are aware that they are owed money by the government but it’s a fact. Residents of the 50 states are owed over $30 billion spread-out among the individual Treasury Departments and New York State’s unclaimed money account is one of the biggest.

State unclaimed money can come from various sources for various reasons. 17,000 Albany residents for example, have yet to cash their property tax rebate checks amounting to $5.6 million. Any unclaimed checks will get turned-over to the State Comptroller on March 2009 as NY State unclaimed money. WXXi recently reported that Monroe County has 40 uncashed checks waiting for it in the New York State Comptroller’s office. “For confidentiality reasons I can’t tell you the exact amount, but the funds on all the claims range from less than $50 to several thousand dollars.” Emily DeSantis of the Comptroller’s office said.

According to NY State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli in a Queens Gazette report in Sept. ’08, a total of $9 billion in NY unclaimed money and property are just waiting to be claimed by their rightful owners- most of whom are unaware they’re have unclaimed funds in their name. This might include 440,000 resident retirees and disabled veterans who haven’t filed for their tax stimulus in the various counties of the Empire State. “Most people only need to file a tax return as they normally do,” Dianne Besunder, spokeswoman for the IRS says in Schenectady’s Daily Gazette. “We will calculate eligibility and payment amount. However, many retirees and veterans do not normally file a tax return because their benefits are not taxable. This year, they must file in order to receive an economic stimulus payment.”

Those that have heard about unclaimed property money usually don’t bother to check thinking it’s too much of a fuss. These are the reasons why the money is piling-up. On Monday this week, ABC’s WSYR helped dozens of Central New Yorkers find over $11,000 of their missing money. Four callers on “The Morning News” found-out they had at least $1,000 NY unclaimed money in their name.

The New York State’s Unclaimed Property Law require that lost assets in the hands of businesses and financial institutions be turned-over to the state after a ‘dormancy period’ of 2-5 years depending on the type of asset. The Empire State has one of the biggest fines (up to $50,000) for failure to ‘escheat’ or turn over abandoned assets. These can be uncashed checks and money orders, insurance policies, stock dividends, long-dormant bank accounts, safe deposit box contents and other financial assets. The state then holds on to them until the rightful owners show-up. There’s no time limit as to when owners of unclaimed money can claim their cash, but doing an unclaimed property search in New York would be the more sensible thing to do especially in light of a recent news report about a man getting arrested for stealing New York unclaimed money.

The North County Gazette reported July last year that an owner of a Brooklyn processing company was charged with defrauding over $32,000 New York unclaimed money from the state. He did this by posing as the rightful owners of the funds using personal confidential information like Social Security numbers which he had access to in his line of work. He was a licensed process server and CEO of the company. There was another case just last month in Delaware about an employee with the State government doing the same thing. Reports like this just stresses the urgency for people to do an unclaimed money search in New York and other states to check if they are owed cash that should be in their pockets and not going to those of other people’s.

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Texas Unclaimed Money

Posted: June 2, 2008 by kewlninja in Unclaimed Money, Unclaimed Property
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Texas state comptroller has almost two billion dollars in unclaimed assets to give away to the state’s residents. Although the Lone Star State has fared a little better than other states during these lean times of high oil prices and sub-prime mortgage crash, I’m sure residents can find some use for extra funds. The truth is, most of the two hundred thousand residents owed Texas unclaimed funds aren’t even aware they’re missing money. In an October 17 KTRE report, around 130, 000 names will be released on an annual list of people owed Texas unclaimed money. “Many family budgets are tight and most folks could use some extra cash right now,” says Treasurer Susan Combs. “Everyone on the Unclaimed Property List has at least $250 they can claim.”
 
People tend to forget about collecting salary or insurance checks when they find new jobs and relocate in a hurry. They also forget to leave behind forwarding addresses after they relocate which is one of the primary causes for lost checks. When business and financial establishments can’t find the rightful owners of these abandoned financial assets for five years (in Texas), they are handed over to the state as dictated by Texas Unclaimed Funds Law which follows the country’s escheat laws. The unclaimed property stay with the Texas state Comptroller’s office until their owners come to claim them.
 
Unclaimed money in Texas covers anything from forgotten bank accounts, unclaimed tax refunds, savings accounts, stock and cash dividends, uncollected insurance benefits and money orders to gift certificates, un-cashed checks and contents of safety deposit boxes that are considered abandoned by their owners. The latter is the only example of tangible assets under the Texas Unclaimed Funds Law and and they are sold off on eBay after 2 years of being turned over to the State Comptroller. So if you are looking for antiques or family heirlooms that your Texan relatives may have lost track of over the years, your best bet is to look soon or risk allowing them to show up on eBay. The earnings from the online auctions are handed back to the Texas unclaimed property fund where they still can be reclaimed by their rightful owners at any time.
 

In times like these, this is good news indeed for people living in the Lone Star State. But don’t think that the TX Comptroller shows up at your front door and to hand your lost assets to you. Unless you don’t have an immediate need for extra cash in your pocket, you should start searching for unclaimed money in Texas or other states now!
 

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Due to aggressive State efforts in reuniting VT residents with state unclaimed funds, the number of claims for lost financial assets in the Vermont Unclaimed Property Division are up 66% from last year. Almost 10,000 Vt residents got back $4 million from safe-deposit box contents, forgotten bank accounts, unclaimed insurance benefits, utility checks, unclaimed tax refunds and similar assets. According to the State Treasurer Jeb Spaulding in an interview on Vermont unclaimed money: “Unclaimed property refers to accounts in financial institutions, companies, non-profits, even state governments that are some kind of financially related property, whether it’s a tax rebate or a savings account or travelers checks, or gift certificates, insurance policies. And when the institution, whether it’s a private or public entity, loses contact with the person whose property it is, for a certain number of years, usually it’s three or five years, they turn it over to the state to try to find the rightful owners. Every state has an unclaimed property office, and there are some easy ways for people to search and find out whether a particular state has something for them.”

Vermont’s unclaimed property law require businesses, insurance companies and financial institutions to hand these lost assets over to the Treasurer’s Office and although there is a record number of unclaimed property claims the past fiscal year, there’s still around $45 million Vermont unclaimed money waiting for its owners that number to almost 300,000 to come and file for their share.

The VT State Treasurer‘s office collected around $6.4 million worth of Vermont unclaimed property from July 1 of last year to May 1, 2008. The financial entities holding-on to these unclaimed assets are required to make efforts to contact and inform owners about their missing money before handing them over to the state after 3 years.

The average claim for unclaimed money in Vermont is $431 and current and former residents of the New England state are urged to check and do an unclaimed money search to see if they have Vermont unclaimed money in their name. They might be one of those owed considerable amounts like the retired Burlington teacher who was found to have $150,000 in her name from old stocks her husband had invested in way back in the 60’s.  “Even if people checked our Web site or newspaper insert last year, they could well in there this year and they need to check again,” Treasurer Spaulding says.

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As part of the State’s Department of Treasury annual ‘clearance sale’, the Virginia Unclaimed Property Division recently auctioned-off over a thousand items as part of it’s annual ‘clearance sale’. These are a field days for bargain hunters and seekers of antiques and priceless memorabilia. According to a report by VA’s WBDJ7, items range from diamonds to a picture of American racing legend Dale Earnhardt.

 

Each year, the Division of Unclaimed Property In Virginia collects lost financial assets and abandoned items from financial institutions (banks, insurance companies, the IRS, etc.) and from deposit boxes and police evidence rooms, respectively. According to their official website, “The Unclaimed Property Division is responsible for the custody of lost, outstanding and dormant accounts reported to them by businesses that have lost contact with the rightful owner when the last known address of the owner was in Virginia. The Division attempts to locate the rightful owners or their heirs to help them claim their property.” They try to locate the owners of the unclaimed assets by publishing names of owners of VA unclaimed property in State newspapers and auction-off tangible items that still go unclaimed after a year.

 

Fairfax County already has a million dollars belonging to people they’re unable to locate. The total amount of Virginia unclaimed money and property right now amounts to roughly $300 million belonging to thousands of residents and even some citizens from out of state. According to the Division of Unclaimed Property in Virginia spokeswoman Brooke Bredel, 1 in every 7 people in the State has Virginia unclaimed money in their name. A search for unclaimed property in Virginia and other states can turn-up extra cash for scores of Americans in financial trouble right now.
“They have a lot better odds of having unclaimed property … than they would of winning the lottery,” Bredel says in a news reporton VA unclaimed money.

 

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