Read on to find out how you can find and file a claim on your unclaimed money.
What is Considered Unclaimed Money In Florida?
Unclaimed money refers to financial assets that have been left unclaimed or abandoned by their owners for a significant period. The funds are typically held on behalf of their owner by a bank, financial institution, or a business. For money to be considered unclaimed, the institution holding the funds has to have been unable to get in touch with the owner for a long time, typically more than one year.
Once this period elapses, the money is collected by the state government for safekeeping. In Florida, unclaimed financial assets are usually sent to the state school fund for use in public education. However, there is no statute of limitations on unclaimed money, which means owners can claim their financial assets anytime at no cost.
Types Of Unclaimed Money in Florida
Here are some of the common financial assets that can be considered unclaimed money in Florida:
- Savings accounts
- Checkings accounts
- Uncashed dividend checks
- State tax refunds
- Unpaid insurance policies
- IRS refunds
Apart from these intangible financial assets, the state of Florida also collects tangible unclaimed money in the form of jewelry, coins, stamps, historical items, and watches.
How Much Unclaimed Money Is Held in Florida?
The Chief Financial Officer in Florida presently holds unclaimed property valued at $2 billion. The vast majority of this unclaimed property is from dormant accounts, securities, trust funds, and insurance companies. Some of the unclaimed property also includes tangible assets like watches, jewelry, and currency stamps.
As highlighted earlier, unclaimed financial assets in Florida are usually deposited in the state school fund and used for public education until they are claimed by their rightful owners. There is no time limit for when an individual can claim their unclaimed money.
On the other hand, tangible assets are only held by the state for two years after which they are put on sale at an auction. The proceeds from the sale are then deposited into the owner’s account where they can be claimed at any time.
How to Find Unclaimed Money in Florida
Before you begin your search for unclaimed money, you first need to determine whether you are doing so for yourself or someone else. If you are conducting the unclaimed property search for yourself, it is recommended to also run a search for any family members or relatives who may have died and left you some funds.
Whichever the case, it is crucial to have personal information about the owner of the funds to help facilitate the search. Besides basic details such as name, address, and social security number, you want to have some information on employers, unions, and other institutions that may have held funds for you or the deceased person. If you are searching for unclaimed money on behalf of a decedent, you are also required to provide documentation to prove you are entitled to make the claim.
When seeking out unclaimed money, you are advised to run searches on both national and state databases. Unclaimed property state databases can be found at state treasury websites. Depending on the state you live in, the website may be called treasury, comptroller, or financial officer as it is known in Florida. The main database for unclaimed funds in Florida can be found at https://www.fltreasurehunt.gov/.
At a national level, unclaimed funds come in the form of pensions, IRS refunds, treasury bonds, and life insurance policies. Therefore, when running a national unclaimed money search, it is a good idea to check databases on the IRS website, the U.S Treasury website, and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.
Whenever you’re conducting an unclaimed money search, make sure you look up all possibilities of your name or that of the deceased. For instance, you can run searches by first name, last name, married names, maiden names, and nicknames. If you do not have the time to run all these searches, you can enlist a third-party agency to do it for you. However, you should bear in mind that they will charge you a percentage of the funds they recover for their services.
How Do I Claim Unclaimed Money in Florida?
The first step to claiming unclaimed money in Florida is searching the interactive state treasury website. This official page can be accessed 24/7 and is completely free. Once you’ve located your unclaimed property, you will be required to complete a claim form to initiate the process of claiming the assets.
Each claim form describes the documentation that a claimant must provide to prove they are entitled to the unclaimed property. These include I.D, current mailing address, driver’s license, or any other government-issued document. If you are claiming on behalf of a deceased relative, you are required to provide the death certificate of the owner as well as the identification and signed claim forms for all their heirs.
After you deposit the claim form with the Department, you have to wait for up to 90 days to receive a determination. However, you can track the status of your claim at https://www.fltreasurehunt.gov/
How Can I Prevent My Money From Becoming Unclaimed?
While unclaimed property can be claimed at any time by the owner, the process of searching and filing claims on such property can be quite time-consuming. This is why it is better to take the steps to prevent your property from getting lost or unclaimed in the first place. Some of the things you can do to ensure you always have access to your money include:
Keep records of all financial transactions that could lead to unclaimed money including bank accounts, security deposits, and utility payments
Inform financial institutions of new addresses when you move.
- Cash all negotiable financial instruments such as stocks and treasury bonds when received.
Interested in learning about becoming a resident in Florida or moving there? Read more.