Government agencies are holding over $30 billion in unclaimed property and missing money. An asset becomes abandoned in the eyes of the law when contact with the original owner is lost – typically due to a name change after marriage or divorce, an unreported address change, incomplete or illegible records, and clerical errors.

In addition to those that have neglected to claim assets to which they are directly entitled, millions of family members are totally unaware they’re eligible to collect unclaimed assets owed deceased relatives, who passed on without leaving an up to date will or complete financial records for their heirs.

More than one-quarter of all life insurance policies go unclaimed on the death of the insured. Why? It is generally up to family members to notify the insurance company when a policyholder dies – little effort is made to find lost beneficiaries – but many don’t know a policy exists, or where to find it.

When owners or heirs fail to communicate an interest in an asset over a specified number of years known as the dormancy period, those left holding unclaimed assets: banks, stock brokers and transfer agents, employers and life insurance companies – remit the funds to the protective custody a government trust account in a legal process known as escheat.

Along with billions of unclaimed dollars held by government agencies themselves – including the IRS (tax refunds – $73 million), Bureau of Public Debt (U.S. Savings Bonds – $17 billion), Social Security Administration (benefit checks – $478 million), HUD (mortgage refunds – $500 million), PBGC (pension benefits – $80 million), FDIC (bank accounts – $200 million), and others – here they await your claim!


  • You must initiate a search for unclaimed money – most government agencies holding unclaimed funds will not contact you.
  • There is no single, inclusive national unclaimed funds database.
  • Don’t be fooled by websites offering memberships or paid access to unclaimed property databases.
  • Unclaimed money held or owed by federal agencies is not included in state unclaimed property databases.
  • Unclaimed property claims refund checks average $800-$1000, but many are for substantially more.
  • In most cases there is no time limit on claims, but some types of assets are subject to a statute of limitations, so take prompt action.