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Forgotten Checking Accounts, Refunds, or Utility Deposits: State Treasury Departments Are Encouraging Residents and Businesses to Check if You’ve Got Unclaimed Money. Here’s How.

A North Carolina-based addiction recovery center recently received a check for $13,000. The money was not from a former resident or a private donation. Instead, the check was from researching unclaimed funds on the state’s database, 

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio:

Incidents like this are possible in cases of unclaimed funds where monies from private accounts are forgotten. It’s not uncommon for a check to be sent and never arrive at its destination and never get cashed. Or, for someone to die and leave money in a checking account. Since financial institutions can only hold these funds for a certain period of time, they are ultimately turned over to a state’s treasury department. 

Unclaimed funds, which are wages from previous jobs, retirement accounts, bank accounts, unclaimed life insurance, CDs, bonds, and even tax refunds, are waiting to be reclaimed. Today, many state and local agencies throughout the United States are encouraging residents to research databases and claim their funds. Currently, many states such as North Carolina are holding an estimated $1 billion in unclaimed funds that could support families and organizations such as Real Recovery in Asheville. 

In Missouri, for instance, one in 10 state residents has unclaimed property, totaling more than $1 billion. 

That state’s treasurer, Scott Fitzpatrick, is leading the department’s campaign to notify people of their unclaimed funds and then issue returns. More than 129,400 Missourians, businesses and nonprofit organizations will have notifications published in more than 100 publications. Residents will also be able to use to search to see if they have any unclaimed funds. St. Louis County has more than 28,000 entries in the online database, making it the largest list of unclaimed property in the state. 

“I encourage all Missourians to check the unclaimed property list and claim any money that is rightfully yours,” Fitzpatrick said. “I also encourage Missourians to take a look at the list and if you see a name you recognize, let that person know. It is always free to claim your unclaimed property and many claims can be filed online.”

How to Discover Your Unclaimed Funds 

In addition to state treasury databases, people can search the National Association of Unclaimed Property website, which is a hub for all state treasuries. 

If someone is looking for a forgotten retirement account, visit  The National Registry of Unclaimed Retirement Benefits, which will help people identify money held by previous employers.  

Dealing with escheatment

Escheatment is when abandoned assets or accounts are over to a state authority, this can include investment accounts.  

Every state has different escheatment rules; check out the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrator’s (NAUPA) website for links to each state’s rules for abandoned property.

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