What You Need to Know about Databases of Hidden Assets
Many people have money coming to them and donít even know it. This money could be in the form of forgotten bank accounts or brokerage accounts. It could be in the form of an abandoned safety deposit box or it could even be an inheritance the individual is unaware of. No matter what the reason, it is important to search the various databases of unclaimed assets in order to be sure you are not missing out on free money.
Going on such a treasure hunt for unclaimed money can be a great deal of fun, as well as a lucrative hobby. It is important, however, to keep the following facts in mind in order to maximize your chances of finding your hidden treasure.
B ware hat the unclaimed property division of your state may to possess all records of unclaimed or lost assets. Therefore it is a good idea to search several different databases as part of your search.
Those assets that have been issued or are owned by various federal agencies will not be in any state database, since each of those federal agencies keeps its own records of unclaimed property.
Assets such as income tax refunds, property tax refunds, child support payments, vendor checks and payroll also may not appear in the state database. That is because the owners of those assets have a specific period of time in which to claim that property. If such assets are not claimed by their owners they become the property of the appropriate government agency.
In some cases assets under a certain dollar amount may not be recorded on the state unclaimed property database.
Those unclaimed or lost assets which are still in their dormancy period also will not appear, since the asset holder in this case is not required to turn those records over to the state agency. The length of this dormancy period varies according to the type of property and according to the statutes of each state. Depending on the type of asset, this period could be as short as one year or as much as 15 years. The average dormancy period, however, is less than five years overall.
Some assets, such as money order, travelers checks and cashier checks, may be turned over to the state without names included. Instead these assets will typically be tracked by the serial number of the check, the date of purchase and other types of information.
Some state databases may contain information on only those assets that have recently entered an unclaimed states, and older records may not be included.
When searching a state, federal or private database of lost and unclaimed assets, be sure to check under your maiden name, or any other names you have used. Also check various spellings of your last name, and search both including and excluding your middle initial.
Be sure to check the state databases of all states in which you have lived in recent years.
Be aware that in most cases tangible goods left abandoned in safety deposit boxes will be auctioned, with the proceeds of the sale being credited to the name of the owner. The proceeds of such auctions may not immediately be listed in the database, and not until the auction has been completed. Since these types of auctions are typically only held once or twice a year, it may take quite some time for such assets to appear in the state database.