Each year, the Treasury Department receives millions of dollars in unclaimed property – things like abandoned bank accounts, forgotten stocks, uncashed checks, certificates of deposit, life insurance policies, safe deposit box contents, and recovered stolen property.
Unclaimed property is any financial asset that has been left with a “holder,” such as a bank, insurance company or other business or organization, without activity or contact for a period of about five years.
The most common types of unclaimed property are savings or checking accounts, stocks, dividends, checks that have not been cashed, certificates of deposit, unclaimed insurance benefits, expired gift certificates, and items abandoned in safe deposit boxes and held in police department stolen-property files.
By law, at the end of the five-year period, holders must transfer abandoned property to the Treasury Department. You may have unclaimed property if:
- You are a beneficiary on a life insurance policy.
- You opened a savings account and forgot about it or your account went inactive.
- You moved without changing your address at the post office and had money coming to you.
- You left a job and never received your final paycheck.
- You did not redeem a gift certificate and it expired.
The Treasurer Department is currently seeking the owners of nearly $4 billion in unclaimed property. In fiscal year 2019-20, Treasury returned more than $148.3 million to the rightful property owners. One in 10 Pennsylvanians is owed unclaimed property, and the average claim is worth $2,000. To see if you have property waiting to be claimed with Treasury, and to start the claims process, visit patreasury.gov/unclaimed-property.
This is a free service.
If someone offers to help you locate unclaimed money for a fee, call the Treasury Department at toll-free at 800-222-2046 before you do anything! Signing an agreement to have someone assist you in recovering unclaimed money may entail the payment of fees.
Individuals can take some simple steps to prevent their property from ending up at Treasury:
- Keep financial institutions informed of any address changes.
- Communicate with financial institutions at least once every three years.
- Keep up-to-date records of financial information including bank accounts, stocks, life insurance policies, safe deposit boxes, etc.
- Let a family member or trusted advisor know where financial records are kept.
- Deposit or cash all checks as they are received.
In closing, I encourage local residents to visit my website, www.senatorlaughlin.com, and my Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/senatorlaughlin/, to keep up to date with state government news – including the state budget — and learn more about state services and agencies.
Contact: Matt Azeles firstname.lastname@example.org