Family members often are unaware they're entitled to collect
unclaimed money owed or belonging to deceased relatives.
Assets become legally abandoned
after the original owners or rightful heirs fail to
claim them. Abandonment can happen when you fail to: deposit a check, apply for a
refund due, make a deposit or withdrawal to a bank
account, exchange stock after a merger - even after a
statement or other official correspondence is
returned to the sender by the post office.
The length of time that must
pass before an asset is considered officially unclaimed - the dormancy
period - is set by law. It varies with the type of property
involved, but generally runs one to five years. If, at the end of
the dormancy period, there has been no owner directed activity,
those left holding the assets - insurance companies, banks,
brokerages, trade and credit unions, employers and utilities -
transfer them to the protective custody of a government trust
account in a process known as escheat.
A declaration of
abandonment typically occurs with name changes after marriage or
divorce, expiration of a forwarding order after a move, as a result
of computer and clerical errors, and most often after the death of a
family member. Literally millions of family members are unaware they're entitled to
collect an unclaimed inheritance.
unclaimed money search and to obtain information
on locating and claiming pre-escheat assets order our
Special Report: Unclaimed Inheritance Search