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What is Escheatment and Why Should I Care about It?

| January 30, 2019
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What is escheatment and why should I care about it?

It sounds like something bad, but it could actually be something quite good. If you have money you forgot about - perhaps an old bank account, an uncashed check, or possibly even an unused gift certificate - these funds are turned over to the state for safekeeping until you claim them.  Generally, you can search online for “unclaimed funds” and the state you wish to search in, typically your residence state. The escheatment process is usually handled by the unclaimed property division of a state’s treasurer or comptroller’s officer. The list is updated periodically, so it is important to check the system every so often (e.g. once a year).

Once you have arrived at the state you wish, there will likely be an online search tool In which to enter your name. Some items can be claimed by simply completing an online form. Others, such as where an address does not match or where you are seeking to claim funds for a deceased individual, will require a mailed in claim form and may require supporting documentation (death certificate, something connecting you to a former address, as two examples). This mailed in form may need to be notarized.

The process is free and takes only a few minutes. It can be fun to discover forgotten money. Good luck on your “treasure hunt”.

This information is provided for general educational purposes only and is not intended to provide specific advice for any individual. Seek professional advice before taking any action in regard to your finances.

Todd A. Slingerland, CFP®

6 Tower Place Albany, NY 12203

(518) 867-4000 x105


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