For over a month people across America have been gathering their W-2s and other tax documents in order to get their taxes filed by mid-April. Some people have filed their taxes already, while others have yet to do so for a variety of reasons. It can be a tedious process, but in the end it is worth the effort in order to get a refund, at least for those who are eligible for a refund. And of course, it is required by law. Filing your taxes online is perhaps the best way to do so, especially if you have earned income in more than one state.
Tax refunds are not the only way to getting money back from the government (at both the federal and state levels). People can also check at the state level to see if the state is holding any unclaimed property of deceased relatives. Unclaimed property (a.k.a. abandoned property) is any account in a financial institution or company that has had no activity generated or contact with its owner for a period of one or more years. Unclaimed property can consist of, but is not limited to, the following: bank accounts, stocks, uncashed dividends or payroll checks, refunds, traveler’s checks, trust distributions, unredeemed money orders or gift certificates, insurance payments or refunds, life insurance policies, annuities, certificates of deposit, customer overpayments, utility security deposits, mineral royalty payments, and the contents of safe deposit boxes.
Obtaining the unclaimed property of a deceased loved one can also be a tedious process. First of all, the department or agency which is in charge of returning unclaimed property does not contact the next of kin for any deceased individual who had unclaimed property. Thus, if you wish to know if a deceased relative has any unclaimed property, then you will have to search for it. The department or agency in charge of unclaimed property matters varies from state to state. For example, in Kentucky the State Treasurer’s office is in charge of unclaimed property. In Indiana, it is the Attorney General’s office. In Maryland, it is the State Comptroller.
Second, the process will vary from state to state. A death certificate is required to process a claim, as is a variety of other documentation, whether it be copies of obituaries, social security numbers, or even documents linking the deceased individual to the address that the state has or documentation linking such an individual to a given financial institution or company. In addition, it can take a while to process a claim.
So for those of you out there curious about obtaining any unclaimed property, check out the following website: https://www.unclaimed.org/. It not only provides more information on the matter, but includes a list of the department or agency of each state which is in charge of unclaimed property. I should add that it might be a good idea to check each state that a deceased relative has resided in.
So don’t hesitate to do a search, because there might be some money out there.