Unclaimed Funds and Abandoned Property

Government trustees are holding billions of dollars in unclaimed property and missing money. Over $58 billion in abandoned cash and forgotten funds has been turned over by banks, life insurance companies, stockbrokers, courts, employers and public companies, but just a small fraction of this free money was reclaimed by lost owners and missing heirs.

Unclaimed property statutes consider financial assets abandoned when contact with the owner is lost – typically due to a name change after marriage or divorce, an unreported address change or the expiration of a postal forwarding order, because of incomplete or illegible records, and most commonly after an untimely death.

Search for Unclaimed Property and Missing Money


When owners or heirs fail to claim forgotten money over a number of years – known as the dormancy period – holders transfer the funds to a government trust account in a process known as escheat.

Here these lost moneys await your claim, along with $17 billion worth of unredeemed U.S. Savings Bonds; and tens of billions more in undelivered IRS tax refunds, uncashed Social Security checks, forgotten pensions and veterans benefits owed by government agencies themselves.

Family members often are unaware they’re eligible to collect unclaimed moneys, refunds and benefits owed deceased relatives who passed on without an updated will. A large number of life insurance policies and retirement accounts go unclaimed every year because it’s up to heirs to notify insurance companies and pension plan administrators of death; little effort is made to track down lost beneficiaries.

Consumer Alerts

Native American Indian Trust Funds IIM Settlement – $3.4 billion
On 11/30/10 Congress approved a class action lawsuit settlement authorizing $3.4 billion in compensation owed over 500,000 Native American Indians.
Native American Indian Monies Search
$8 billion in lost and unused gift cards
Last year alone, gift cards worth $8 billion were lost, forgotten or otherwise went unused. In many instances new laws allow for refunds or replacement, even if the card has an expiration date.
Gift Card Refunds
Are you a lost heir entitled to an unknown inheritance?
Millions of family members are unaware they’re eligible to collect unclaimed money owed deceased relatives who passed away without leaving an up-to-date will.
Missing Inheritance Search
Performing artist digital music royalties – $360 million
$360 million in digital music royalties from internet webcasts, satellite radio & cable television play are due recording artists, musicians & copyright owners. $111 million has gone unclaimed.
Music Royalty Payments
Unclaimed 401k retirement plan assets – $850 million
Each year, $850 million in 401(k) retirement plan assets owed employees of companies that have gone bankrupt or ceased operations go unclaimed. Families of deceased workers neglect to claim billions more.
401k Search
RS income tax refunds – $153 million
Last year IRS income tax refund checks worth $153 million – an average of about $1500 per taxpayer – went undelivered, mainly due to unreported changes of address.
IRS Tax Refund Search
Missing life insurance policyholders & heirs
One in three life insurance policies go unclaimed on death of the insured, because family members aren’t always aware a policy exists, or don’t know how to track it down.
Unclaimed Life Insurance Policy Search
SAG Actor Royalties
The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) is holding money for thousands of performers whose residuals checks – royalties earned from television and film performances – have gone unclaimed.
SAG Royalties
Lost and Forgotten Safe Deposit Boxes
Each year thousands of bank safe deposit boxes are forgotten or abandoned by owners and heirs. If the box rent is not paid, the contents may be auctioned off by custodians.
Safe Deposit Box Search
Holocaust Victims Assets
Holocaust victims and heirs whose property was confiscated or forcibly sold may be entitled to restitution. Search Israel’s Holocaust Victims’ Assets Database or contact the Holocaust Era Asset Restitution Taskforce
MetLife, Prudential, MONY and John Hancock demutualization compensation
MetLife, Prudential, MONY & John Hancock policyholders and missing heirs are eligible to claim cash and/or stock after the demutualization of these and other life insurance companies.
Mutual Life Insurance Search
Writers Guild Unclaimed Copyright Payments – $13 million
The Writers Guild of America is holding in excess of $13 million in unclaimed compensation for thousands of American authors, directors and copyright holders.
Writers Guild Royalty Payments
Military Retroactive Stop Loss Special Pay (RSLSP) – $315 million unclaimed
The 2009 War Supplemental Appropriations Act authorized special pay of $500 for every month served in stop loss status. 80,000 veterans & beneficiaries are eligible to claim an average of $3,700.
Military Stop Loss Pay
$750 million in unclaimed child support
States collect billions of dollars annually in court-ordered child support. $750 million has gone undistributed & unclaimed, due to incorrect address information for the custodial parent.
Unclaimed Child Support
Lost and Uncashed Checks
Failure to cash or deposit a check does not terminate your right to the funds and the payor’s responsibility to pay. This is generally true even if a check specifies a ‘void-after’ date.
Uncashed Checks
Lost and unclaimed IRA Individual Retirement Accounts
50 million Americans have an IRA. Individual Retirement Accounts worth billions of dollars go unclaimed every year, because owners or heirs fail to take required distributions or cash payout checks.
Unclaimed IRA Search
Veterans Aid & Attendance Special Pensions
The Aid & Attendance (A&A) Special Pension provides benefits for veterans and spouses who require help daily chores. Only 1 in 7 of those eligible have applied.
Veterans Pension Benefits
Savings accounts, IRA Individual Retirement Accounts and CDs at closed banks
Over 450 banks & credit unions have failed in the last few years including the largest ever, Washington Mutual (WaMu). Depositors may collect FDIC insurance – up to $250,000 per account.
Lost Bank Account Search
$10 billion in lost stock, bonds and mutual funds
The SEC estimates 3 million lost stockholders are entitled to unclaimed stock worth $10 billion. $500 million in stock dividends and bond interest checks are not cashed each year.
Lost Stock Search
$1.1 billion African American discrimination class action lawsuit settlement
In 2010, Congress approved payments of $50,000 to African American & Native American farmers who were discriminated against in obtaining loans by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA).
Discrimination Settlement
Unredeemed US Savings Bonds – $17 billion
The value of lost and unredeemed U.S. Savings Bonds that have stopped earning interest at final maturity currently exceeds $17 billion.
Savings Bond Search
Have you been contacted by an unclaimed asset tracer or heir finder?
Professional asset tracers track down family members and heirs of deceased relatives, demanding 35% or more for information on an unclaimed inheritance. Find and claim these funds yourself.
Asset Tracers & Heir Finders

Other Consumer Alerts


Life Insurance & Unclaimed Inheritances: Unclaimed Life Insurance II Missing Inheritances II Lost Heirs

Savings: Bank Accounts II Credit Union Accounts II Safe Deposit Boxes II CD Certificates of Deposit II Uncashed Checks II Postal Money Orders
Investments: U.S. Savings Bonds II Stock, Bonds & Mutual Funds II Postal Savings Bonds
Retirement Accounts & Pensions: IRA Accounts II 401k Accounts II Pension Benefits II Government Pensions II Railroad Retirement Benefits
Government Payments: Social Security II IRS Refunds II HUD Refunds II Indian Trust Funds II Child Support II Bankruptcies II VA Benefits
Royalties & Residuals: Mineral Royalties II Musician Royalties II Screen Actor Residuals II Author Royalties II Gift Card Refunds