Bob Moon: A lot of states are strapped for cash these days. And they’re looking to a new source of income: Forgotten money you may have left behind. Or maybe some rich uncle left you an unexpected windfall. Let’s get some tips on how to make sure
you get what you’ve got coming to you from Valerie Jundt, at Keane Unclaimed Property. Welcome.
Valerie Jundt: It’s great to be with you today Bob.
Moon: Now I assume that if there’s an outfit with unclaimed property in its name, that there must be a lot of unclaimed property out there. What exactly is unclaimed property?
Jundt: Unclaimed property consists of any outstanding liability or personal, intangible property that has gone unclaimed by the owner after a specified period of time. So, in layman’s terms, it could be a dormant bank account, insurance proceeds, outstanding payroll, might be oil and gas proceeds, dividends from stocks that you own and you didn’t cash the dividend check. Even rebates, that’s a real big one right now too, and unredeemed gift cards. Could be a utility deposit you didn’t cash. The only tangible items that the states collect are items in safe deposit boxes. So if you don’t pay your rent after a certain period of time and they have to drill the box, those contents will go to the state.
Moon: Now, how do people lose track of their property like this?
Jundt: It really varies. And in the stories — I’ve been doing this for over 28 years — it really does varies. Sometimes they just forget about it — they move, they don’t keep the records up-to-date and don’t provide their new address information to their financial institutions or other businesses that they do business with.
Moon: Is this a case of finders keepers sort of? I mean, if the states take control of this property, is there a limit to how long they hold onto it before they just go ahead and seize it?
Jundt: With the exception of one state — and that state is Idaho — all of the states hold those funds in a perpetual trust fund. So regardless of how old and how long the states have had that money, it’s one place to look for your money and they hold it in a perpetual trust fund until it is claimed by the rightful owner for the revenue.
Moon: So what’s the best way to make sure that you don’t leave any money unclaimed?
Jundt: Well, obviously, nobody knows your business better than you do. Just make sure that you keep all your financial records up-to-date, make sure that if you’ve moved or in the process of moving that you give them a good address.
Moon: How do you go about finding out whether you have some unclaimed property sitting around somewhere?
Jundt: There are two sites that you can look to: One is Unclaimed.org — not Unclaimed.com, make sure you know the difference. Unclaimed.org is run by the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators. It’s a free website. From there, you can link to every single state. MissingMoney.com is another one. Not all of the states participate on MissingMoney.com, but it’s another free site that you can look for your name and address as well.
Moon: We’ll put the links to those search sites that you mentioned on our website. Valerie Jundt at Keane Unclaimed Property, thanks for being with us.
Jundt: Thank you, it was a pleasure to be with you today Bob.
There’s a lot happening in the world. Through it all, Marketplace is here for you.
You rely on Marketplace to break down the world’s events and tell you how it affects you in a fact-based, approachable way. We rely on your financial support to keep making that possible.
Your donation today powers the independent journalism that you rely on. For just $5/month, you can help sustain Marketplace so we can keep reporting on the things that matter to you.