You may have seen recent stories on national morning programs. People who have found money owed to them or their families. Well, it may interest you to know that one in seven Virginians has unclaimed property. At various town hall and senior center events, people are circling themselves around laptops looking for money with designated volunteers. It may the result of lost or forgotten investments and bank accounts, social security, pensions, utility deposits, tax refunds, for either yourself, family or deceased relatives.
The Unclaimed Property Division of the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Department of the Treasury is responsible for unclaimed property back to the owner.
What Is Unclaimed Property?
All tangible or intangible property that has remained unclaimed by its owner for an extended period of time. This includes but is not limited to savings and checking accounts, wages or commissions, underlying shares, dividends, customer deposits, credit balances, gift certificates, credit memos, refunds, etc.
How Does Property Become "Unclaimed"?
In accordance with the Uniform Disposition of Unclaimed Property Act, Title 55, Chapter 11.1 Sections 55-210.1 - 55-210.30 of the Code of Virginia, property becomes unclaimed when the holder has not had contact with the owner of the property for a specified period of time. After the passage of the dormancy period, if there has been no activity generated by the owner, the property is then considered abandoned.
Why Does Virginia Have Such A Law?
The purpose of Virginia's law is threefold . . .
1. To protect the property rights of the absentee owner and to reunite the owner with the property;
2. To provide the use of the funds to the Literary Fund for the benefit of all Virginia citizens rather than a chance possessor; and
3. To provide the holders relief from any liability.
Searching for Unclaimed Property in Virginia
Anyone can look for unclaimed property using a quick and easy search in their name online by going to www.trs.virginia.gov. Remember to search by current and previous names.
Have relatives who do not have a computer? Nervous about performing a search online? You can request a search in writing to:
Virginia Department of the Treasury
Unclaimed Property Division
P.O. Box 2485
Richmond, VA 23218-2485
Searching for Unclaimed Funds in Other States
Every state has an Unclaimed Property program. Many Virginians have at one time or another also lived and/or worked in another state, or have relatives in another state. MissingMoney.com or unclaimed.org both contain records from most state unclaimed property programs.
Additional Places to Look:
National Registry of Unclaimed Retirement Benefits is a nationwide, free and secure database listing of retirement plan account balances that have been left unclaimed. It matchs employers with abandoned or forgotten employee retirement account balances with the former employees, family members, or estate managers who they rightfully belong to. www.unclaimedretirementbenefits.com
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) - If PBGC is responsible for your pension plan, you can use their fast, free, and secure online service tool (MyPBA) for most of your transactions. www.pbgc.gov
U.S. Treasury - Treasury Hunt® helps you find matured savings bonds that have not been cashed. Depending on whether you have the bonds or not, and the issuance year, you can either search online using your SSN or submit a form provided.
IRS manages lost federal tax refunds under their Where’s My Refund? section www.irs.gov/refunds
Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Old Age Security (OAS) may be available for people who lived and worked in Canada for a period of time. There are a multitude of variables to consider to know whether your past contributions can be either added to your U.S. Social Security qualifications or would become a separate check. Contact Service Canada directly about your particular circumstances.
This article was created by SeniorNavigator staff. Information for this article was received from the Commonwealth of Virginia website and additional national online research on the topic.