With respect to the States’ databases, you may not locate your unclaimed asset or property on the online databases for the following reasons. The States’ Unclaimed Property Divisions only hold approximately half of all unclaimed or lost assets.
* All assets issued or owing by Federal Agencies and assets issued by most state or local governments themselves (employee checks, state income tax refunds and vendors checks) will NOT show up in State databases.
* The dollar amount or value of the unclaimed property is under specific value ie) $50 or $100.
* The unclaimed or lost asset is still in its ‘dormancy period’ meaning the asset holder is not yet required to transfer over to the appropriate state. This ‘dormancy period’ varies per property type and per each state’s unclaimed property statutes. Review the holding or ‘dormancy’ period for your state search.
* A few States ie) Wyoming do not list unclaimed property in their public online database until the asset has been in its custody for 2 years.
* Cashier checks, money orders and traveler checks are examples of unclaimed property turned over to the States without names. The holders report the check or serial number, date of purchase and amount only. Also note, travelers checks typically have a 15 yr. dormancy period.
* A few States only list the most recently added unclaimed accounts.
* Be sure to search under a maiden name, various spellings of one first name, nicknames or a possible misspellings of the last name.
* Check all states in which you have resided or worked in.
* Many States Unclaimed Property Divisions are understaffed and cannot update regularly.
* Tangible items left in an abandoned Safe Deposit Box will, in most States, be auctioned off and the proceeds credited in the owner’s name. The proceeds amount may not be listed in the database until after the auction. State auctions are normally held once or twice a year. Some states are currently using E-Bay to auction off these items.
* There is no continuity in search engine sensitivity – some are case and/or space sensitive; while other require an exact match while searching in the different state databases.
* Since unclaimed assets/money are effectively revenue for the States, if there is a question as to the last known address of the owner, State A maybe fighting or delaying a reciprocal agreement to transfer the asset/money to State B and therefore not list that asset/money in its public online database until the issue is resolved.
In any case, it is imperative to check the online databases regularly. If you are certain you might have an unclaimed, lost or forgotten asset, submit a written search request to those States’ Unclaimed Property Divisions. Most states will perform a search for you that should cover the exceptions.
Thomas Tuke is the CEO of American Refund Services specializing in assisting others locate their unclaimed accounts without paying a Finder’s Fee.