Here’s Why You and Everyone You Know Should Check Their Unclaimed Property
Most of us like to think that we’ve got a handle on our hard-earned cash—especially because every dollar is precious. But, get a handle on this: one in 10 Massachusetts residents actually has money waiting for them at the State Treasury. The Unclaimed Property Division is currently holding more than $3 billion for citizens and businesses. And, even if your name isn’t on the unclaimed property list in Massachusetts, chances are you have a parent, grandparent, or loved one who could use a heads-up. That’s right, anyone (even young people) can have unclaimed money. Here’s why you should check your Massachusetts unclaimed property—and pass along the message to your family and friends.
First thing’s First: What is unclaimed property?
Unclaimed property is essentially money that belongs to you that never reached your possession. When a bank, insurance company, business, or other “holder” can’t contact a financial asset’s 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—that could be you.
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. For example, if you suspect you never got your last paycheck from your high school job, check your Massachusetts unclaimed property. It could be there!
It’s easy to claim
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.
It’s not a scam
There’s no catch to claiming property through the state website, but make sure you’re using the official one. As a free service offered by the state, 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