Unclaimed Property

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Money, money, everywhere, step right up and claim your share.

That’s a cute little ditty—and a true one. The US Department of the Treasury says billions of dollars are waiting to be claimed by rightful owners. The property includes uncashed checks, savings bonds, gift certificates, stocks, utility deposits, and the contents of safe deposit boxes.

According to the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators, over $1.7 billion was returned to rightful owners or heirs in 2006 from almost two million accounts. At last tally, more than $32 billion in over one million accounts was still being held in state treasuries and other agencies.

The US Government, plus every state and territory, as well as foreign and domestic banks and some foreign countries, have unclaimed property lists—and you can find out if some of the assets are yours by accessing the web sites or databases maintained by these agencies.

The easiest asset to find is Series E savings bonds, last issued by the US government thirty years ago. If you lost a purchased or inherited bond, you can find a searchable database and forms to submit your claim on the Treasury’s web site.

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