The State Had One Woman’s Unclaimed Funds. It Turned Out to Be a Windfall

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The State Had One Woman’s Unclaimed Funds. It Turned Out to Be a Windfall


In the early hours of this month in Singapore, Ms. Cox and I discussed the matter via Zoom with the state auditor’s office while we waited for her young children to stir and bring an end to the proceedings. At one point, Ms. Cox thought about asking about the missing $45,000 — the balance from the 2014 settlement. How much of her money did the state now have?

“It’s $115,000,” was the reply.

It turns out that the state tracks the development of investments and you get all the growth when you show up to claim your property. Those old Eaton Vance mutual funds had held up reasonably well. Ms. Cox smiled wryly.

Later that day I asked her what her plans were for the money that arrived in her bank account via wire transfer this week. Maybe a new 529 college savings plan for these two kids? With the help of a Morgan Stanley broker?

“I don’t think so,” she said. “NO. No thanks.”

Not all unclaimed funds are bank or brokerage accounts that their owners have forgotten. It could be stock dividends, insurance policies, dishonored checks, and more. If you want to find something in your name – or in the names of older relatives, for example – here’s how to do it.

Search your state (or any state)

Each state has some type of unclaimed property unit. If you search online, it’s easy to find them – just make sure it’s a reputable website. Florida, as always indulging in craziness, conducts its activities through the web address FLTreasurehunt.gov.

The National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators has a map on its homepage with links to each state’s website. Missingmoney.com allows you to search all states at once

Prepare your credentials

To make a claim to your property, you must prove who you are, often with personal information or perhaps identification. You may also need documentation from the company you dealt with before they turned everything over to the state.

If blocked, file an objection

If a state turns you away for any reason, carefully note what, if anything, would cause them to change their mind. If you don’t like the answer and you live in the state where the unclaimed property is located, contact your state representatives and ask them for help as part of your citizen assistance.

And if it is the company you serve that turned over your property to the state and is now creating obstacles, contact their customer service department. If that doesn’t work, try the actually patented executive email carpet bombing method, which involves sending targeted letters to a company’s leadership team.



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2024-03-23 09:02:06

www.nytimes.com