These days, more of us than not, would welcome some extra money. Finding it with a few internet searches would make it even better. No fuss, no muss, little effort.
Missingmoney.com allows a comprehensive, free website search–in a single place for most states–for missing money. The National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA) established this national database. The law requires entities, such as banks, to turn unclaimed funds over to the state. Per the Missing Money site, it exists to “enhance the states and provinces outreach efforts to locate lost owners.”
The site is easy to use. State and provincial governments coordinate to connect you with lost funds. Some states are not directly connected to Missing Money. However, the site lists links for every state’s database. I didn’t locate any phantom money, but a friend found several possibilities. Once you select likely funds, the site directs you to the appropriate state-run missing money site. This site offers additionally fund possibilities, which you select and then confirm your association (e.g. owner of account, heir of owner of account, etc.). To begin the process, you only need download or request the state mail you an application.
You must provide documentation that links you to the funds, such as ID,verification of the address shown on fund, etc.
If you’re wondering if you, an elderly or incapacitated, person you love, or someone to whom you might be an heir, has unknown or unattended funds/valuables, then check out the site. These resources could be in bank accounts or safe deposit boxes; stocks, mutual funds, bonds, and dividends; uncashed checks (including uncashed dividend checks) and wages; and insurance policies, CD‘s, trust funds. And don’t forget the utility deposit you didn’t retrieve when you moved from Virginia to LA in 1990; or that escrow account on the deal that fell through.
There is also a site to search for pension funds you forgot about, didn’t know existed or believed to be defunct. The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 created thePension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), a federal corporation financed by insurance premiums. This resource protects the retirement incomes of more than 44 million American workers in more than 29,000 private-sector defined benefit pension plans.
Currently, the PBGC holds over $195 million in unclaimed benefits, with the average an individual of $6,550. The online search tool provides an easy way to locate pensions you’ve forgotten. The site offers several ways to search and the administers regularly update the lists. The PBGC is free and available 24/7.
Keep in mind, too, that your former company may have changed names since you worked there. PBCG also publishes a booklet, “Finding A Lost Pension,” filled with tips, suggestions on potential allies, and details on numerous free information sources. You can request it on the site, or in writing: PBGC Communications and Public Affairs Department, 1200 K St., NW, Washington, DC 20005-4026.
Missing pension participants in New York, California, Texas, New Jersey, Ohio, Illinois, and Pennsylvania comprise the bulk of the PBGC list. So, if you lived, worked or potentially held a pension with a company doing business or headquartered in one of these states, you really should get searching on the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.
Both the PBGC and Missing Money provide free services, so don’t fall for someone offering to find your money for a fee. The sites could be great resources in the current anemic economic environment –whether it’s for yourself, an elderly loved one, or someone with diminished memory/capacity. Many people could use a couple of hundred (or sixty-five hundred) dollars, even if it takes 4-6 weeks to process the claim.
May your search be fruitful.