Two Tales of Unclaimed Funds

deeann5351May 4, 2007

I was reading another thread which mentioned unclaimed funds, and I would like to encourage everyone to be sure to check your state's site every now and then. You never know what you might find.

A few weeks ago another site I visit mentioned this. I went to our state's site and started typing in family members' names. My mom is remarried, and I entered both of her married names. Unbelievably, I found an entry under her name when she was married to my dad and the address we lived at when I was a little girl about 45 years ago. The amount was almost $700. The story doesn't stop there though. The unclaimed funds were from Prudential insurance's demutualization which happened about five years ago. I thought if she was due money under that name and address, she must have an insurance policy under that name and address as well. We called Prudential to inquire, and YES she does! She couldn't believe it! I think she might have not paid premiums and thought the policy was gone. It is actually still active and has cash value. She didn't even remember it. She is now in the process of updating her information with them and making a claim for those unclaimed funds. This is amazing to us since she is 80 now, and if she were to have died, we would never have known about this policy!

This experience reminded me how we all need to keep track of stuff like this. I used to work as an auditor in the corporate headquarters of a large bank in Cleveland. One of my duties was to go through printouts of old accounts and send out letters to the last known address of the customers advising them of their dormant account balances. If not claimed or a transaction done on the account in a specific time frame, the money went to the state. My most memorable one was an 80+ year old woman who had $82,000 in a checking account that didn't even earn interest! She never claimed it, and it went to the state with all the other unclaimed funds.

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Deeann, how long does an account have to be dormant until the state can take the money?

    Bookmark   May 4, 2007 at 9:26PM
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That varies from state to state. In each state if you go on their web site, its likely they will tell you. I think with the 45 year old claim that would have escheated to the state in most places. California just moved up their escheat time to 3 years which launched lots of unhappy claims. It seems they decided they also didn't need to notify as well as they used to. More money for the state I guess.
Altho in one lawsuit I saw, they couldn't find some well known movie star, so I guess they don't look very hard.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2007 at 8:59PM
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Not just unclaimed funds get lost in the shuffle -

A few years ago I found a check that I'd never cashed and was about to expire. It was for about $2600 and was related to our house - we refinanced and got back money from FHA. It would expire a year from the date on it - and I had just a couple of weeks left.

I would have kicked myself for several months (and never confessed to DH) if I hadn't found that check ... buried in mounds of miscellaneous paper.

And a few days ago I was sorting through medical bills, trying to match them up with insurance claims (I was ill for several months last year and it was all too overwhelming) to see what I still owed ... and found a check for over $400 from the insurance company, dated last August. It didn't have an expiration date so I stuck it in our bank account and hope it will clear. I know some of them are only good for 6 months.

So that would have been a total of over $3000 lost due to my chronic paper mismanagement ... fortunately I found them.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2007 at 9:58PM
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I was messing around one day and found my SIL on the list for her state. She was due a refund from a physician. It was less than $100, but better to be in her pocket.


    Bookmark   May 8, 2007 at 1:20AM
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Chronic paper mismanagement is one of our problems. DH keeps paid phone bills from a decade ago cluttering up the filing cabinet and often forgets to send off forms for rebates and freebies (eg, our recent purchase of a new vac entitles us to a dustbuster). Why did I decide to let him manage the house? Is it the age difference? Is it because I'm a SAHM (I hope that stands for what I think it stands for) and he's a director of something-or-other? I used to work in an office and I was good at organising things. Why did I let him be in charge at home? I don't care that he's older than me, has more qualifications than me, has a more important job than I ever had. It ain't working! One more thing to try to find the energy to fix.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2007 at 3:56AM
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macbirch- please remember that directors have secretaries and/or administrative assistants. Guess who purges the old paper from the office files? Guess who sends out the meeting notices (similar thrill to sending for rebates)? In all my years of working with superintendents, principals and secretaries, directors, coordinators, and various administrative staff -- I've found that less than one out of a hundred director-level bodies will even *think* about proper "paper management", much less actually do something about it. If your DS is directing his office, why shouldn't you hold a similar, but more effective position for the home? You may not be managing a multi-million dollar budget, but you will be managing *your* budget and that's far more important. Just don't brag to him about your neat file drawers, that's considered poor personnel management.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2007 at 1:25PM
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A few years back my husband did a search on the site, just for the heck of it -- and collected $1800 from a former employer he'd left about 25 years previously! This was in NY where the State can never take the funds.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2007 at 9:58AM
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An excellent discussion point above -- many years ago -- as computers invaded offices -- companies dropped the "secretaries" or "office personnel". And guess what? LOTS of companies failed --- and disappeared ...... and the real reason was NOT their product ......

((boy!! could I tell you stories about dinner parties here where folks tell the "horror" stories about why the companies they had worked for failed ...... accounts go unpaid for months, mail and basic paperwork lost ...... etc. .......))

And I wrote about this in my business stories ..... where companies had to go back and LOOK at their processes ......

Why?? Because "organization" and "time management" and inventory control" was truly looked down on in the business world (and the real world at home too!) BUT the basic truth ---- and its one that folks are still learning everyday -- is that those skills are VITAL to running ANY business -- and running ANY home.

Rant over ...... LOL!! :)

    Bookmark   May 15, 2007 at 10:13AM
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How bizarre. I just checked my name on my state site and found something from 1992. It didn't show up when I entered my name and city because the only data entered in the address field was the name of my former employer. It did show up when I entered just my name.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2007 at 5:02PM
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