Here’s a trivia question: What would a child do if he found money that didn’t belong to him? (The answer is at the bottom of this post.)
Unclaimed Money: Are you missing any money? Would you know if you were? Banks and financial institutions do find themselves in the strange position of having to deal with what appear to be abandoned checking or savings accounts. Unlike the child in our trivia question, banks don’t have to ask themselves any moral or ethical questions, they just have to follow the law. If the account is unclaimed for three years, they are required to turn the money over to the State.
Sometimes “unclaimed money” isn’t lost at all! For example, let’s say you opened a savings account to store the $1,000 your grandmother gave you when you graduated high school. You assumed you could just let the money sit there earning interest until you were ready to use it. You would be wrong. Interest going into a bank account is NOT considered activity. After 3 years, your money would be transferred to the state.
To avoid having your money declared “unclaimed”, make a small deposit or withdrawal from your bank account annually.
Savings accounts aren’t the only accounts that can be categorized as unclaimed. Make sure that you cash checks you receive in a timely manner – even paychecks can be considered unclaimed money. Safe deposit boxes also fall under unclaimed money – make sure you access that safe deposit box at least annually.
To find out if you have any missing money, go to www.unclaimed.org and check each state that you have lived in to see if you have unclaimed money.
Answer to my trivia question: According to a NY Times article, 64% of children who found money either tried to return it to its rightful owner or turned it in to authorities. And, 82% of children who hadn’t found money said they would to the same. That makes you feel good, doesn’t it?