The following content is created in partnership with the Commonwealth’s Unclaimed Property Division. It does not reflect the work or opinions of NBC Boston’s editorial staff. Click here to learn more about the Commonwealth’s Unclaimed Property Division.
Did you know that one in ten Americans have unclaimed property? The state of Massachusetts alone has over 3.4 billion dollars in unclaimed property and some of it could be yours! Many ask, however, what is considered unclaimed property and how does the state acquire unclaimed property? Read on for the answers to these and other unclaimed property questions you might have.
What is unclaimed property?
Unclaimed property is any financial asset, usually intangible that is being held for a person or entity that can't be found. Unclaimed property can include savings and checking accounts, unpaid wages or commissions, uncashed insurance proceeds, stocks, customer deposits or overpayments. It doesn't include individuals’ real estate, abandoned personal property, or lost and found items.
How does the state of MA have my money in the first place?
If a bank or other holding company is in possession of an individual’s money or intangible property and is unable to locate its rightful owner, the property is handed over to the State Treasury’s Unclaimed Property Division after 3 years. Traveler’s checks will become unclaimed assets after 15 years. The state of MA will hold on to the property until claimed by its rightful owner.
Who is eligible to claim the property?
The original owner, heirs of the original owner, a personal representative if the Estate is open, a beneficiary or co-owner listed on account.
How do I determine if the Treasury is holding my lost property?
The MA State Treasury Department provides a free public service for people to collect their assets across numerous platforms. The state publishes a list of owners of unclaimed property in over 30 regional and local papers. Residents can also check the Unclaimed Property division website or call toll free at 888-344-MASS.
I’m on the list; now what?
It’s time to file a claim and collect what's rightfully yours. If your name is on the unclaimed property list, you can file online here. When filing a claim, folks will be asked some very basic questions including name, business name, residing town, or property ID to prove ownership of property. Since there are thousands of claims within the Treasury Department, it's important to check on maiden names, old addresses, and family members who may be deceased.
Once the Unclaimed Property Division has received all required documentation and the claim is approved, the rightful owner will receive a check in the mail. The process is easy, however, the state is asking recipients to allow for up to 180 days to process your claim.
I didn't find my name. What should I do?
If you didn'tfind your name, keep checking! The Massachusetts Treasury Department releases new names and updates the list every six months.
The Massachusetts State Treasurer’s Unclaimed Property Division released their newly released list which has over 48,000 new names of individuals and businesses with unclaimed property over $100. The Unclaimed Property Notice of Names Insert runs until October 19. For more information, click here.