What are the laws on claiming unclaimed money?


Quick Answer

Every state has laws requiring companies and financial institutions to turn in unclaimed money to agencies from which legitimate owners can claim the funds at any time, reports the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators. A number of federal agencies also hold unclaimed money for owners to claim, advises USA.gov.

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Full Answer

State missing property laws require banks and other companies to turn over unclaimed money when they cannot locate the owners after a specified period of time ranging from one to several years, explains the National Association of Unclaimed Property Advisors. This includes stocks, checking and savings accounts, insurance payments, trust distributions and annuities. It also includes uncashed payroll checks, unredeemed money orders, utility deposits, traveler's checks and customer overpayments. Individuals can search for missing money at any state data base for free and claim it for free or for a nominal fee. Most states have no time limit on when owners of unclaimed money or their heirs can claim the funds.

According to federal law, taxpayers can claim unclaimed or undelivered tax refunds from the Internal Revenue Service for a limited time, reports the IRS. Consumers can claim deposits from failed insured financial institutions from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and deposits from failed credit unions from the National Credit Union Administration, states USA.gov. Some homeowners who have mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Authority can claim refunds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

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