When a loved one passes away, it might feel awkward to approach the subject of claiming your inheritance. However, money that goes unclaimed from an inheritance gets absorbed by the state. This is money that you would have been entitled to, had it not gone unclaimed. This can be a hard truth if you and your family are in need. In this guide, we’ll show you how to find unclaimed inheritance if you think there may be some unclaimed assets or property available to you.
How to Find Out If You Have Unclaimed Inheritance
The National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA) is a governmental organization with the purpose of returning unclaimed assets to their rightful owners, including inheritances. Each state’s Treasury officer is a member of this organization and reports data.
According to their homepage, each state returns over three billion in claimed assets every year, but they receive just as much in new unclaimed property each year as well. In other words, inheritances that go unclaimed are extraordinarily commonplace. For example, Florida’s Financial Services Department cites that “one in five Floridians has unclaimed funds from a forgotten financial account.”
Even if you don’t think you have any unclaimed inheritance, it doesn’t hurt to check and find out. Next, we’ll reveal how to find unclaimed inheritance that might be yours.
1. Start with National Databases
Thanks to the World Wide Web, finding unclaimed inheritance is relatively easy. There are a number of databases that aggregate data reported by each state’s Treasury department. Typically, all you have to do is input a name and address in a simple search portal and see if it yields any results.
A great place to start is the above-mentioned NAUPA website, with its self-explanatory URL: www.Unclaimed.org. It provides an interactive map of the United States. By clicking on the state the deceased person lived in, you’ll be transferred to the respective government unclaimed property program page. From there, you can follow the provided instructions to search for unclaimed property.
NAUPA may redirect you to www.missingmoney.com, which is the only non-governmental database that is endorsed by NAUPA. This database is convenient because it allows you to conduct a multi-state search, including American territories and some Canadian provinces. However, be sure to double-check the list of states and provinces that provide data to this site, as some states do not participate. Some states that are not included include Hawaii, California, Washington, and Oregon.
2. Leverage Related Links for National Organizations
While you’re on the Missing Money website, we also recommend that you click on their “Related Links” menu tab. On this page, you’ll find a variety of links to relevant government entities that will help you find additional databases. For example, they link to the Housing and Urban Development refunds page, as well as the public email address for the Treasury Department’s savings bond inquiries. This page acts as a checklist of sorts of where you might find dormant money.
3. Try Multiple Spellings & Variations of the Deceased’s Name
When searching through these databases, you’ll notice that they require you to input your name and other personal information, such as your home address. Whether you’re searching for yourself or for a deceased person, it’s important to try different variations on the name and address.
That’s because our name encounters multiple computations during our lifetime, whether it be through marriage, divorce, nicknames, middle names, and misspellings. One version of your name might spit out a search result, while another would not.
This is the same thing with addresses. It’s very rare that a person stays at the same address their entire life. Be sure to try different combinations of names and addresses to make sure that you’ve been thorough with your unclaimed inheritance search.
4. Hire a Professional
If you need additional help locating an unclaimed inheritance, you can work with a professional service. For a fee, a service will conduct an extensive search for you. However, keep in mind that abandoned accounts might not have very much left in them.
There are some cases when you may have had a relative with poor bookkeeping, especially towards the end of their life. If you suspect that you have a significant amount of unclaimed assets out there, then working with a professional or attorney might be worth it. Otherwise, there’s no reason you can’t conduct your own search using the above-referenced databases.
If you are a lucky person who finds an unclaimed inheritance, the state that holds the funds will provide you with the instructions on how to reclaim it. Be prepared to provide your Social Security Number as proof that you’re the rightful heir.
Avoid This Confusion - Create Your Estate Plan Today
The fact that there are billions of dollars in unclaimed inheritances in our economy is a symptom of poor estate planning, or a lack of estate planning altogether. When reviewing our guide on how to find unclaimed inheritance, you might have been thinking about what a headache this can be for loved ones.
The good news is that you can prevent this from ever becoming necessary by establishing an ironclad estate plan. It’s best to always be prepared, no matter your age or financial status. Trust & Will’s estate planning services makes it easy and affordable for you to create your Trust or Will. Keep in mind that once you do create your estate plan, it’s just as important to review it regularly to keep it updated. That way, you can make sure that your loved ones don’t have to go on a hunt to find their rightful inheritance.
Is there a question here we didn’t answer? Reach out to us today or Chat with a live member support representative!