Smart SpendingSmart Spending

10 states sitting on billions of dollars

Does some of this unclaimed property belong to you?

By Credit.com Mar 18, 2014 2:09PM
This post comes from Gerri Detweiler at partner site Credit.com.

Credit.com on MSN MoneyDidn't find your pot of gold at the end of the rainbow on St. Patrick's Day? You may not be out of luck -- you may be a few clicks away from no-strings-attached cash. It sounds fishy, but it’s no scam.


Money © CorbisThe fact is that states are holding onto literally billions of dollars in unclaimed property that belongs to people all of the country -- and some of that could be yours. Just look at the amount of unclaimed money held by the top 10 states holding the highest value in unpaid claims.


Top 10 states holding the highest value in unpaid claims

  1. New York: $12 billion
  2. California: $6.1 billion
  3. Texas: $2.2 billion
  4. Pennsylvania: $1.9 billion
  5. Michigan: $1.55 billion
  6. Ohio: $1.53 billion
  7. Illinois: $1.5 billion
  8. Florida: $1.2 billion
  9. North Carolina: $1.14 billion
  10. Virginia: $1.1 billion

Source: National Association of State Treasurers (NAST) 2012 Unclaimed Property Survey


How much cash could you snag? It depends, of course, but of the $2.25 billion returned as a result of state unclaimed property program efforts in 2012, the average claim was $892 according to NAST. For many of us, that kind of cash could make a good dent in a credit card bill or help jump-start an emergency savings account. Since debt has a huge impact on your credit scores, extra cash can mean long-term savings and short-term relief. (If you want to see how your debt is affecting your credit scores, the free Credit Report Card will show you two of your credit scores for free every month, plus a breakdown of the major factors impacting your credit.)


Where does it come from?

There are a variety of sources for this money, but the top 10 are:

  1. Savings or checking accounts
  2. Uncashed dividends or payroll checks
  3. Stock certificates or accounts, bonds, mutual fund accounts
  4. Insurance payments or refunds
  5. Utility/security deposits
  6. Travelers checks
  7. Unredeemed money orders or gift certificates (in some states)
  8. Life insurance policies
  9. Contents of safe deposit boxes
  10. Misplaced pensions, retirement money and lost 401(k)s

This is all money the rightful owner either forgot about, or in the case of an inheritance or insurance policy beneficiary, may not even know about. If you find a match, you may even be owed interest on those funds, depending on the type of property and the rules in your state.


Like winning a free lottery

Some of the biggest claims have been more than $1 million. For example, here is a list of the top 10 single highest claims ever paid by state:

  1. North Carolina: $12,421,645
  2. Missouri: $6.1 million
  3. Texas: $4.3 million
  4. New York: $4 million
  5. Florida: $3.9 million
  6. California: $3.5 million
  7. Wisconsin: $3,190,128
  8. Arizona: $2.4 million
  9. New Jersey: $2.3 million
  10. Pennsylvania: $2,117,816

We’re not talking about just a few people here and there who find they are entitled to unclaimed property. Hundreds of thousands of lucky consumers each year learn they have money coming to them. 


The top five highest total claims paid out (2013)

  1. Ohio had 5,930,845 total searches in 2013 with 162,797 total claims.
  2. Texas had 2,141,237 total searches in 2013 with 150,104 total claims.
  3. Florida had 2,083,698 total searches in 2013 with 134,604 total claims.
  4. New Jersey had 4,233,547 total searches in 2013 with 75,587 total claims.
  5. Arizona had 1,772,048 total searches in 2013 with 51,190 total claims.

Find out if you have unclaimed property coming to you by searching MissingMoney.com. It’s completely free, and there is no fee to search for your property. (Avoid anyone who tries to charge you a finder's fee for this service.) If you find a match, you will be given instructions for filing a claim. Twenty-three states accept claims electronically, while seven states offer a completely paperless claim process. 


And if you’ve searched before, or if you have only searched your state treasurer’s website, it doesn't hurt to try again. New property is being added all the time, and because it covers multiple states, something may turn up in another state. (Currently, most states participate, but if you have ties to one that doesn't, you will want to check that state's site as well.) My husband found out he was owed more than $500 a few years ago, and recently learned he was owed a couple hundred dollars from another source.


You never know what might be waiting for you, and it won’t cost you a dime to find out.


More from Credit.com:

67Comments
avatar


LETTER TO THE CRIMINAL RULING CLASS:


You control our world. You’ve poisoned the air we breathe, contaminated the water we drink, and copyrighted the food we eat. We fight in your wars, die for your causes, and sacrifice our freedoms to protect you. You’ve liquidated our savings, destroyed our middle class, and used our tax dollars to bailout your unending greed. We are slaves to your corporations, zombies to your airwaves, servants to your decadence. You’ve stolen our elections, assassinated our leaders, and abolished our basic rights as human beings. You own our property, shipped away our jobs, and shredded our unions. You’ve profited off of disaster, destabilized our currencies, and raised our cost of living. You’ve monopolized our freedom, stripped away our education, and have almost extinguished our flame. We are hit… we are bleeding… but we ain’t got time to bleed. We will bring the giants to their knees and you will witness our revolution!

Sincerely,

The middle class that built this country
Mar 18, 2014 8:15PM
avatar
Corporations are sitting on Trillions all sheltered in off shore accounts.
Mar 18, 2014 8:13PM
avatar
My daughter and her Mother went to Sacramento's unclaimed money department. Stocks her Great Grandmother (now deceased) bought her in (then called) Air Touch and Disney when she was born had somehow ended up there.
After providing all of the birth certificates, state identification etc. the State STILL refuses to release the money stating that "she could be someone with the same name". Occasionally there is a public service news story with some official telling how they do whatever they can to reunite money with righful owners. Nothing is further from the truth. They will do whatever they can to keep their hands on your money.

Mar 18, 2014 5:47PM
avatar
The State of Maine is holding money that belongs to the heirs and refuse to give me my mother's death certificate as they want proof. I have provided all the proof that I can get. They refuse to give me the death certificate even though I have provided my birth certificate and paid them 30.00 to get it. Now isn't that interesting. So what more can one do with out probating the estate, which my mother's estate was probated.  They want to keep the money is what they want.
avatar
Perhaps New Yawk should use some of that money to clean up its piss-stained streets.
Mar 18, 2014 9:01PM
avatar

Don't think Illinois wouldn't like to take all that cash!!! Gov. "Potato head Quinn and Sen. Dick Durbin could buy a lot of votes and give away a lot of freebies to the illegal aliens that have found a new home in the Sanctuary State of Illinois!!!!!


"Come  to Illinois for all you can get" We'll just steal it from our pension systems!!!!!!!

Mar 18, 2014 7:01PM
avatar
UNDERSTAND THEY DON'T ACTUALLY HAVE THE MONEY, IT IS ONLY ON THE BOOKS. CALIFORNIA IS NEXT TO BANKRUPT, DON'T THINK THEY HAVEN'T TAKEN THAT 6 BILLION AND USED IT SO OF COURSE THEY MAKE IT ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE TO RETRIEVE
Mar 18, 2014 6:01PM
avatar
Occasionally the state of Oklahoma will publish inserts for state newspapers of lists of people the state has money for.  My mother always reads those things and spotted my name on the list.  It said I was owed $50.  I couldn't think of what it could be, then it dawned on me that it had to be the deposit I had paid on a dorm room 20 years ago.  The deposit on that dorm room was exactly $50.

So I read the instructions on how to claim the money.  There were so many hoops to jump through that it would've cost me more than the money I was owed to get it.  You basically had to travel too the state capitol, which is 125 miles away, find the state treasures office, show 5 forms of ID, take a day off of work since they're only open on weekdays, etc etc.      

So unless the state owes you serious amounts of money, it's pointless.  I figured it's the states way of getting to keep your money. 

Mar 18, 2014 8:58PM
avatar
I collected some dollars from CT which came from my late Mother's estate, stock that our research showed she sold years ago but apparently didn't (and we had not seen any dividends in many years so we got those too). Took me about an hour's worth of paperwork and a small probate fee, well worth it, put a huge smile of my brother's face when I handed him his half...... although there are some unpleasant stories posted which is very sad, there are some good outcomes too if you do the homework. 
Mar 18, 2014 8:19PM
avatar
Karl Holm well put! You deserve an A+
Mar 19, 2014 2:17AM
avatar
If it was left up to the fed gov there wouldn't be any money left period, spend it all as if there's no tomorrow. some where there sholud be accountability........
Mar 19, 2014 9:12AM
avatar

"karl holm (KARL WAS THE MAN) WHO did NOT know HE IS the cause and the SOURCE of the existence of the "Ruling Class".

 

1- There can be NO ruling Class without a class that is WILLING to be ruled.
2- There can be NO corrupting Class without a class that is WILLING to be corrupted.

3- There can be NO rich Class without a class that is WILLING to consume anything and everything produced and imported by the Rich Businessman from American  OUTSOURCED factories.

 

There is no greater Bull$hi#er than the American Businessman; there is no greater sucker than the American People. © 1991-2014.

By continuously creating a need where none existed before, the American Businessman has manipulated the life of the American People in every aspect, to the point where the American people cannot survive without the help of the American businessman who oddly enough cannot survive without the credulity of the American People.

 

Advice to "KARL WAS THE MAN" and alike: Consume LESS "Made OUT of USA" and don't REELECT any Official, be it in Congress, Senate,  Whitehouse or locals.... and above all loose weight and get rid of that COMPLACENCY you have been living in for the last fifty years.

Patriotism is much more than just hanging the country flag at the entrance of premises.

Mar 18, 2014 9:15PM
avatar

"10 states sitting on billions of dollars"


WHAT A FORKIN' LIE!!!!!!

They already spent it ALL......

& the only way they'll pay it back is take it from future TAXPAYERS!!!


"Sitting on billions of dollars"................****!!!!

Mar 18, 2014 5:18PM
avatar
Here I am! Some of that money must be mine!!
Mar 19, 2014 8:54AM
avatar
the real intent is setting up and maintaining still another state department of bureaucracy.  truly serving the public is not the intent.
Mar 18, 2014 4:48PM
avatar
God knows Idaho doesn't have much in the way of unclaimed money. Otter and his merry band of idiots spend everything they can get their greedy hands on unless it's education. And yes, this is a completely red state....
Mar 19, 2014 11:26AM
avatar

Call me cheap, but I know if somebody owes me money.

By the way, what happened to the article advising folks to invest in the stock market with a second mortgage?? They pulled it. Censorship because of overwhelming negative comments?

Mar 19, 2014 2:51AM
avatar
You control our world. You’ve poisoned the air we breathe, contaminated the water we drink, and copyrighted the food we eat. We fight in your wars, die for your causes, and sacrifice our freedoms to protect you. You’ve liquidated our savings, destroyed our middle class, and used our tax dollars to bailout your unending greed. We are slaves to your corporations, zombies to your airwaves, servants to your decadence. You’ve stolen our elections, assassinated our leaders, and abolished our basic rights as human beings. You own our property, shipped away our jobs, and shredded our unions. You’ve profited off of disaster, destabilized our currencies, and raised our cost of living. You’ve monopolized our freedom, stripped away our education, and have almost extinguished our flame. We are hit… we are bleeding… but we ain’t got time to bleed. We will bring the giants to their knees and you will witness our revolution!


Mar 19, 2014 3:05PM
avatar

Another bold faced lie from MSNBCommunist.

 

CA is BROKE!!

Mar 18, 2014 8:46PM
Report
Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
Categories
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?

DATA PROVIDERS

Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.

ABOUT SMART SPENDING

Smart Spending brings you the best money-saving tips from MSN Money and the rest of the Web. Join the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

VIDEO ON MSN MONEY

TOOLS

More