Unclaimed Property in Maryland: How to Find and Reclaim Your Lost Assets

Unclaimed property is a significant issue across the United States, with billions of dollars held in government accounts waiting to be claimed by their rightful owners. Maryland, a state with a rich history and a diverse economy, has its own substantial share of unclaimed property.

This article provides an overview of unclaimed property in Maryland, how it accumulates, the steps to find out if any of it belongs to you, and how to reclaim it. Additionally, we will mention the staggering amount of unclaimed property held by Maryland in 2023.

Understanding Unclaimed Property

Unclaimed property refers to financial assets that have been left inactive or forgotten by their owners. When these assets remain unclaimed for a specific period, known as the dormancy period, businesses are required by law to turn them over to the state. This ensures the funds are safeguarded until the rightful owners or their heirs claim them.

The Scope of Unclaimed Property in Maryland

Maryland holds a significant amount of unclaimed property. As of 2023, Maryland’s unclaimed property program had over $2 billion in unclaimed assets waiting to be returned to their rightful owners. These assets include bank accounts, stocks, dividends, refunds, life insurance benefits, and even utility deposits.

Common Types of Unclaimed Property

Unclaimed property can take various forms, including:

  • Bank Accounts: Dormant savings and checking accounts.
  • Checks: Uncashed payroll checks, refund checks, and dividend checks.
  • Insurance Benefits: Unclaimed life insurance policies and annuities.
  • Utility Deposits: Unreturned security deposits from utility companies or landlords.
  • Stocks and Bonds: Unclaimed shares of stock or bond dividends.
  • Safe Deposit Box Contents: Items left in safe deposit boxes that have been abandoned.

How Does Money Go Unclaimed?

There are several reasons why money goes unclaimed. People often move without updating their address with financial institutions, or they forget about small balances left in old accounts. Sometimes, beneficiaries of insurance policies or inheritances are unaware of their entitlement. Additionally, businesses may lose contact with customers or shareholders, leading to unclaimed funds.

Searching for Unclaimed Property in Maryland

Finding unclaimed property in Maryland is a straightforward process that can be done online. The Maryland Comptroller’s Office maintains a website where individuals can search for unclaimed property. Here’s how you can search for unclaimed property:

  1. Visit the Official Website: Go to the Maryland Comptroller’s unclaimed property website.
  2. Enter Your Information: Input your name and any other required information into the search fields.
  3. Review the Results: The search will generate a list of potential 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:

  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.

Tips for a Smooth Claim Process

While claiming unclaimed property is generally straightforward, there are some 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.

Unclaimed Property Nationwide

While Maryland has its share of unclaimed property, it’s worth noting that other states also hold significant amounts of unclaimed assets.

For instance, in 2023, New York State held an astonishing $17 billion in unclaimed property. This highlights the widespread nature of unclaimed assets across the country and underscores the importance of regularly checking for unclaimed property, regardless of where you live.

The Importance of Reclaiming Unclaimed Property

Reclaiming unclaimed property is not just about recovering forgotten funds; it can also significantly impact your financial well-being. Extra funds can be used to pay off debts, invest in opportunities, or simply enhance your financial security.

Additionally, reclaiming these assets ensures they are returned to the rightful owners, reducing the amount of unclaimed money held by the state.

How to Prevent Your Money from Becoming Unclaimed

Preventing your money from becoming unclaimed involves a few proactive steps:

  • Keep Financial Records Up to Date: Regularly update your contact information with all financial institutions and organizations you do business with.
  • Communicate with Beneficiaries: Ensure that your heirs and beneficiaries are aware of any life insurance policies, retirement accounts, or other assets they may inherit.
  • Monitor Your Accounts: Regularly check your financial accounts, including bank accounts, investment accounts, and insurance policies.
  • Respond to Notifications: Pay attention to mail and email notifications from financial institutions. These communications often include important information about your accounts.
  • Consolidate Accounts: If you have multiple accounts, consider consolidating them to make management easier and reduce the risk of forgetting about them.

Success Stories

Many people have successfully reclaimed significant amounts of money through unclaimed property programs. For example, a Maryland resident discovered and claimed over $30,000 from an old investment account they had forgotten about. Such success stories highlight the importance of checking for unclaimed property and the potential benefits of reclaiming forgotten assets.

Conclusion

Unclaimed property in Maryland represents a substantial pool of financial assets waiting to be claimed by their rightful owners. With over $2 billion in unclaimed property, there is significant potential for individuals to recover forgotten or unknown assets.

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 financial future could benefit greatly.

For more detailed information and to start your search, visit the Maryland Comptroller’s unclaimed property website.

P.S. Would you like to search other states you’ve worked in? You can using our free “Forgotten Loot” guide. Inside the guide, you’ll get access to all 49 states. To get this guide, go here. Happy searching.