Unclaimed Money in New York: What You Need to Know

New York State is holding onto billions of dollars in unclaimed property. This unclaimed money includes forgotten bank accounts, uncashed checks, insurance payouts, and other financial assets that belong to individuals who may not even realize they are owed money.

In 2023, the total amount of unclaimed property held by New York State was a staggering $17 billion. This article will guide you through the essentials of unclaimed money in New York, explaining how it accumulates, how you can find out if any of it belongs to you, and the steps to reclaim it.

How Does Money Go Unclaimed?

Unclaimed money accumulates in various ways. Often, it results from individuals moving and forgetting to update their address with financial institutions. Other times, it could be due to beneficiaries not being aware of their inheritance.

Businesses are required by law to turn over unclaimed assets to the state after a certain period of inactivity, known as the dormancy period. These assets then remain with the state’s Comptroller Office until the rightful owner claims them.

Types of Unclaimed Property

The types of unclaimed property can vary widely. Some common examples include:

  • Bank Accounts: Dormant savings and checking accounts.
  • Checks: Uncashed payroll checks, dividend checks, and cashier’s checks.
  • Insurance Benefits: Unclaimed life insurance benefits and annuities.
  • Security Deposits: Unreturned security deposits from utility companies or landlords.
  • Stocks and Bonds: Unclaimed shares of stock or bond dividends.

The Scope of Unclaimed Property in New York

As of 2023, New York State’s unclaimed property amounted to $17 billion. This significant sum reflects the sheer volume of assets that go unclaimed over the years.

Each year, the state receives millions of dollars in new unclaimed property, and while a portion of it is claimed by rightful owners, a large amount remains unclaimed.

How to Search for Unclaimed Money

Searching for unclaimed money in New York is relatively simple and can be done online. The New York State Comptroller’s Office maintains a website where individuals can search for unclaimed property. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Visit the Official Website: Go to the New York State Comptroller’s Office unclaimed funds website.
  2. Enter Your Information: Input your name and any other required information into the search fields.
  3. Review Results: The search will generate a list of possible matches. Review these carefully to see if any belong to you.
  4. File a Claim: If you find property that belongs to you, follow the instructions to file a claim. This typically involves providing proof of identity and any relevant documentation to prove ownership.

Claiming Your Unclaimed Property

Once you have identified unclaimed property that belongs to you, the next step is to file a claim. The process usually involves the following steps:

  1. Proof of Identity: Submit a copy of a government-issued ID, such as a driver’s license or passport.
  2. Proof of Ownership: Provide documents that prove your right to the property. This could include old account statements, utility bills with your address, or any other relevant paperwork.
  3. Submit the Claim Form: Complete and submit the claim form available on the Comptroller’s website.
  4. Follow Up: After submitting your claim, follow up if necessary. The processing time can vary, and additional information may be required.

Common Challenges and Tips

While the process of claiming unclaimed property is generally straightforward, some challenges can arise. Here are a few tips to ensure a smooth process:

  • Keep Records: Maintain good records of your financial transactions and personal documents.
  • Update Information: Always update your address and contact information with banks, insurance companies, and other financial institutions.
  • Check Regularly: Make it a habit to check for unclaimed property periodically. Assets can go unclaimed for various reasons, and checking regularly increases your chances of finding something.

The Importance of Reclaiming Your Money

Reclaiming unclaimed money is not just about getting back what is rightfully yours; it can also help in various practical ways. Extra funds can be used to pay off debts, invest in opportunities, or simply improve your financial security.

Additionally, reclaiming these assets helps reduce the amount of money sitting unclaimed with the state, ensuring it is returned to the rightful owners.

Conclusion

Unclaimed money in New York represents a significant pool of financial assets waiting to be claimed by their rightful owners. With $17 billion in unclaimed property in 2023, the potential for individuals to reclaim forgotten or unknown assets is substantial.

By understanding the process and regularly checking for unclaimed property, you can ensure that any owed money finds its way back to you. Take the time to search and claim what’s yours—your future self will thank you.

PS. To start a search for unclaimed funds, download my free forgotten loot guide and see if you have any money in your name. Start here.