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- An estimated $70 billion in unclaimed property is being held by states, and belongs to about 33 million Americans.
- Treasury departments across nearly every state in the US collaborate to maintain a database of the property.
- Americans are encouraged to search for property that may belong to them in any state where they’ve lived.
An estimated one in seven Americans, about 33 million people, has unclaimed property in at least one state, adding up to tens of billions nationwide.
State treasury departments encourage Americans to search for their name on MissingMoney.com, every February 1, or on National Unclaimed Property Day, The online database lists property turned over to treasury departments in nearly every state.
According to the site, which is run by the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators, the average claim is just over $2,000, but they range from pennies to thousands, and there is an estimated $70 billion in unclaimed property on the website, according to CNBC.
The property can come in many forms, including inactive bank accounts, uncashed paychecks, contents of a safe deposit box, or insurance payments that were never issued. If an asset is not claimed or there’s been no activity on an account for a certain period, often a year or longer, the funds go to the state’s treasury department.
“States are required to return unclaimed property to its owner no matter how long it takes,” Nebraska’s treasurer and NAUPA President John Murante said. “It is your money and should be returned to you.”
The National Association of State Treasurers also advertises the program through its Twitter account with film references and memes:
—National Association of State Treasurers (@StateTreasurers) February 1, 2023
While companies and states try to contact rightful owners, it’s nearly impossible to proactively return money to everyone.
Just over $4 billion was returned to Americans across 48 states and Washington, D.C., last year, according to an NAUPA report. The NAUPA encourages Americans to search nationally or in any state where they have lived, using their current or former names, or any businesses or nonprofits connected to them.
—National Association of State Treasurers (@StateTreasurers) January 30, 2023