Five Small Unclaimed Property Basics that Can Pay off Big
Most of us like to think that we’ve got a handle on our hard-earned cash—especially now when every dollar feels extra precious. But the truth is that one in 10 Massachusetts residents has money waiting for them at the State Treasury. The Unclaimed Property Division is currently holding more than $3 billion for citizens and businesses, so even if your name isn’t on the list, chances are you have a parent, grandparent, or loved one who could use a heads-up. Here’s exactly what you should know about unclaimed property—and pass along to your family and friends.
What is unclaimed property?
Unclaimed property consists of financial assets. When a bank, insurance company, business, or other “holder” can’t contact an owner for three years or more, it has to turn the assets over to the state by law. The Commonwealth then attempts to reunite this money with its rightful owners. To prevent your property from going “unclaimed,” all you have to do is keep your accounts active. That can include making a deposit or withdrawal, updating your contact info, or getting in touch with your financial institution at least once every three years.
Where does unclaimed property come from?
Sources of unclaimed property can include checking and savings accounts, unpaid wages, securities, uncashed dividends, life insurance policies, uncashed checks, safe deposit boxes, and more. They don’t include any land, real estate, or vehicles.
How do you claim it?
Claiming your property is simple and free when done through the official state website, findmassmoney.com. If you find your name on the list, you’ll need to answer a few questions to verify your identity and claim your money. Expect to get a check in the mail a few days or weeks later. All in all, it only takes a few minutes of your time.
Is it a scam?
There’s no catch to claiming property through the state website, but make sure you’re using the official one. As a consumer protection program, the sole purpose of the Massachusetts State Treasurer’s Unclaimed Property Division is to reunite people with their own money. You don’t even have to pay any fees.
What if I’m not on the list?
Don’t give up just yet! Even if you don’t find your name this time, come back later because the treasury adds new assets on a regular basis. Every other state also runs its own unclaimed property program, so you check the other places you’ve lived. Make a mental note to revisit the site on your birthday each year—you may just find a surprise gift!This is a paid partnership between Massachusetts State Treasury and Boston Magazine's City/Studio