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Each year on Feb. 1, the group holds “Unclaimed Property Day,” when it encourages people to check missingmoney.com — a national clearinghouse for unclaimed assets that most states participate in — or an individual state’s unclaimed property website. It’s worth doing a national search as well as conducting individual state searches based on where you have ever lived, even briefly.
The association, which is an affiliate of the National Association of State Treasurers, also offers links to state programs. States do not charge a fee to search their database nor to claim your property.
So how does property end up with the government? If a company, bank or other entity can’t find you after a certain amount of time — generally three to five years, Murante said — the asset is turned over to the state.
While each state has its own rules that govern the process of claiming the property, you can count on being required to prove that you are the rightful owner by, for example, providing documents confirming your identity. States often try to locate people as well by, for instance, matching the owner’s information to a tax return.
Even if you search and discover you aren’t due anything, that shouldn’t dissuade you from regularly checking to see if that changes, Murante said.
“State treasurers get new unclaimed property turned over to them every single day,” he said.