To locate lost bank accounts to reclaim money, first inquire at the relevant bank if it is still open, advises the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. If the bank has closed or the account is so old that the bank has no record of it, search the unclaimed property office of the state where the account owner last lived. Alternatively, conduct a general search of state unclaimed property offices at MissingMoney.com.
Locate banks that have closed, changed names or merged with other banks using the Bank Find search engine at Research.FDIC.gov, suggests the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. When inquiring at banks about accounts that belonged to a deceased relative, bring a death certificate and appointment as estate executor. If you are inquiring on behalf of someone still alive, bring a power of attorney. The FDIC may hold deposits from recently failed banks for 18 months before turning them over to state unclaimed property offices. Once banks turn funds from lost accounts over to state unclaimed property offices, they may delete the account records from their computer and paper storage systems.
Locate individual state unclaimed property offices using the interactive map at Unclaimed.org, explains the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators. Once banks turn unclaimed accounts over to state offices, the states attempt to find the owners by crosschecking public data and holding awareness events. If they do not find the owners, state unclaimed property offices hold the funds indefinitely until the owners or their heirs claim them. States return the money for free or for a small handling fee.