The NAUPA, the National Association of Unclaimed Properties Administrators, provides online a listing of all states in America with each state’s online unclaimed properties search engine.
So what is ‘unclaimed property?’ By law, any deposits, bank accounts, refunds, stocks, safe deposit contents, dividends, etc not claimed after a specific time period by the original owner, then is turned over to the state treasury for safe keeping. The state does try to find the rightful owner or their heirs. Sometimes years can pass without any luck.
So this web site was created as is the online site for each state. It is easy to use, select the state that you or a relative may have lived, owned a business, had financial dealings with, etc. Once on that state unclaimed property site, put in your own name (yes, you could of forgotten about a refund somewhere) or a relative’s name. If there is any on record, and do check various given names or initials, then the process for claiming the property is explained for each state.
If the relative has passed away, then the closest next of kind can claim the property. you would have to prove that relative’s death (such as a death certificate or obituary) and prove your lineage. But otherwise there is no cost to you to claim your own property or a relatives’. Look up your living relatives also and if something is found, let them know.
To give you an idea how long items can be held (note, some states are beginning to place very long-term unclaimed items up for auction), I was able to claim the contents of my grandfather’s safe deposit box in Maryland that had been forgotten about by any other relatives after his death in December 1944. I was not even born yet, but years later learning of these unclaimed online sites, I research related to my ancestors. Sure enough, there was a listing for my grandfather, correct name and it was contents of his safe deposit bank in the bank he did deal with.
Only I did not know what was in the deposit box. I, as the oldest grandchild, (no other relatives living), did send in the required paperwork, and within a few weeks those contents place by my grandfather, who I had never met arrived at my home. No great fortune, just various documents that were important to him back in the 1940s. I was thrilled to have these, since I was the one in the family who did the family history. So nothing is impossible, just make the effort.
Photos: Safe Deposit box; At an eBay auction-Unclaimed from state of Maryland-Gorham Sterling Flatware-not monogrammed, Gold jewelry unclaimed and safe deposit boxes.
Related FamilyTree.com Blogs:< Return To Blog