Unclaimed Property Research: How to Find Missing Money and Property

Unclaimed Property Research: How to Find Missing Money and Property

What is Unclaimed Property?

Lost and abandoned property is a category of the common law of property which deals with personal property which has left the possession of its rightful owner without having directly entered the possession of another person.

Research Programs

Every U.S. state, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands – and Quebec, British Columbia and Alberta in Canada have unclaimed property programs that actively find owners of lost and forgotten assets.

Unclaimed property laws have been around since at least the 1940s, but have become much broader and more enforced in the last 15 years. Unclaimed property is one of the original consumer protection programs.

Private detectives are often retained to conduct research into financial matters and to track down money that may belong to individuals. Private eyes should be familiar with the services provided by state organizations such as the Department of Revenue, State Treasury, State Controller, Comptroller and other financial administrators. Sometimes, the programs are administered by the Attorney General’s office or by the State Tax Commission.

Research Websites

For more information and to search specific states for property and money, please visit the following websites:

  • National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA) – This site is affiliated with the National Association of State Treasurers and also with www.missingmoney.com, which is the NAUPA-sponsored search engine. All states belong to the association, so the site also provides links to state registries, helping to streamline your search efforts. Individuals should search in every state they have lived.

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