How to track down unclaimed assets

May 29 2018


You've worked hard for what you've earned, but are you missing out on something? Whether you switched employers a few years ago and left behind a 401(k) or simply lost track of a savings account or some inherited property, take advantage of online resources to find what's rightfully yours. 

Search by type.

Not sure where to start? First, Google the relevant financial keyword with the phrase "unclaimed funds" to find reputable online databases, especially any associated with legitimate government institutions. Unclaimed tax refunds can be located through the IRS website, for example.

Maybe you have missing retirement funds, in which case the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) is your best bet. And of course, the FDIC handles forgotten bank balances. 

Go state by state, name by name. 

If a former employer or financial institution can't locate you, they're required by law to forward forgotten funds to the state, which can help you narrow down your efforts. Search your name on every unclaimed fund database in states you've lived in. If there's a chance a recently passed relative may have bequeathed something to you, check under their name as well.

Know that the search process should be free.

As you search for unclaimed funds, avoid paying a person or service for assistance and watch out for related scams. With online tools and state databases, you should be able to find what's yours for free. However, it's up to you to initiate the search, as the government won't reach out to you to let you know about forgotten money.

Please reach out if you have any questions. 

"Rule No. 1 : Never lose money. Rule No. 2 : Never forget Rule No. 1." Warren Buffett

"I try not to borrow, first you borrow then you beg." 
  Ernest Hemingway