About one out of every ten Americans are owed unclaimed money but they are blissfully unaware of it.
Americans leave over $49 billion on the table when it comes to not claiming money that is owed to them.
Unfortunately, hyper-bureaucracy and circumstances of life create situations where you may have unclaimed money waiting for you while you are unaware of it.
Employers, businesses, and financial entities are not legally entitled to inform you that you have unclaimed money if you moved to another state.
You may have money in an old pension plan, bank account, stocks, life insurance policy, bonds, and other financial vehicles that you are unaware of.
Here are three ways to find such unclaimed money.
Unclaimed Demutualized Life Insurance Policies
How many times have you watched a TV show or film about characters with murderous plans to collect a life insurance policy at any cost?
It turns out that collecting a life insurance claim as a beneficiary is not always that simple, whether you are attempting to do so legally or unscrupulously.
According to Demutualization Claims, almost half of all life insurance policies are never claimed by beneficiaries. That is the equivalent of $2.4 billion annually.
There are a few reasons why you may have unclaimed beneficiary funds from a life insurance policy. You may be unaware that you are a beneficiary. You may have been named as a beneficiary in a life insurance policy by a policyholder who forgot to inform you or died before informing you.
Life insurance policies can only pay out death benefits after they are informed that a policyholder has died. And death notification does not always occur or in a timely manner. If you move to another state, the life insurance company has no way to contact you.
But a prime reason for this occurrence is the demutualization of a life insurance company. “Demutualization” is a big word, but it just means that a life insurance company has switched from being a private to a publicly-traded company.
After demutualization, the contractual specifics of a life insurance policy will change for a policyholder. However, life insurance beneficiaries are still entitled to any death benefits as structured in the policy before the demutualization occurred retroactively.
It’s a bureaucratic headache of a life insurance concept to understand. But if you want to check if you have unclaimed death benefits, check out Demutualization Claims.
The National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators, also known as NAUPA, is a personal finance awareness and advocacy organization. They aim to make everyday Americans more aware of unclaimed money that is rightfully theirs but is unclaimed for numerous reasons.
As previously mentioned, there are numerous bureaucratic and circumstantial reasons why money goes unclaimed. So, NAUPA runs a website called Unclaimed.org that helps people find unclaimed money.
NAUPA is a part of the National Association of State Treasurers network. These state treasurers and affiliated organizations keep track of public records of unclaimed money that you may be unaware exists.
Unclaimed.org is free to use. But you must be ready to do a lot of comprehensive research. You will have to check every state you have ever resided or worked in before to check for funds.
Missing Money is a website that checks and verifies state public records to help you look for unclaimed money.
You can check for lost money on Missing Money for free. Additionally, you can check for lost money that may be owed to you in the United States and Canada as well.
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Be realistic when searching these sites and don’t get your hopes up. You may have no unclaimed money waiting for you. But it is better to know for sure than to be blissfully aware.
Don’t expect to have a multimillion-dollar fortune waiting for you somewhere either.
And checking these sites is just the beginning. You may have to check for unclaimed money in multiple states. And even if you do find some, you will have to file a claim and then contact the entity in the state that owes you money.
Allen Francis was an academic advisor, librarian, and college adjunct for many years with no money, no financial literacy, and no responsibility when he had money. To him, the phrase “personal finance,” contains the power that anyone has to grow their own wealth. Allen is an advocate of best personal financial practices including focusing on your needs instead of your wants, asking for help when you need it, saving and investing in your own small business.