Friday, October 10, 2014

Unclaimed Property (Part 1)


When property (like a bank account, annuity, or life insurance policy) goes untouched or unclaimed for a certain amount of time, it “escheats” to the State. The property still belongs to the original owner, but you now have to go through your state’s Unclaimed Property division in order to claim your property.



To find out if you have unclaimed property in New Jersey, go to www.missingmoney.com. This is the official website to search New Jersey’s Unclaimed Property database. Just put in the name of the person whose property you want to search for and type in “NJ” in the box titled “Your Resident State/Province,” and click Go.

If the person’s name comes up with an address at which they currently or previously lived, congratulations! You’ve found missing money.

If the person is still alive, the process to claim the missing money is very simple:

1.     Click the box to the left of the property you wish to claim (you can claim up to five at a time) and hit “Submit Electronic Claim.”
2.     Read the next page to see if you can claim the property. If you are eligible to make the claim, click “Yes I can claim.”
3.     Check the box at the top to certify that you can claim the property. Select if the name listed is your current or maiden name, or the name of your company, and fill in the rest of your information. Then click “Continue.”
4.     The State will email you a confirmation of your claim shortly.

Depending on the claim, one of two things will happen:

1.     the State may not require any further information and simply mail you a check for your property within 4-8 weeks, or
2.      you will get a letter and some forms from the State to fill out.

If the latter happens, just fill out the Claimant Information page, sign it, and have it notarized; check off which property you are claiming on the Property Detail page; and if the State requests proof of address, send a copy of an “official” document (e.g., a bank statement) with that address. (There may be other documentation needed to process your claim, depending on the facts of the situation. This will be stated in the letter.)

Mail all of this documentation to the address on the cover letter from the State. Make sure your full name and Claim ID Number are on everything you send.

The State will mail you your check once your information is processed. This may take several weeks or more, so try to be patient.