At the time of this writing, Nevada’s State Treasurer is holding onto over $940 MILLION in unclaimed property. Arizona has over $1.8 BILLION. In fact, every state in the U.S. has millions to billions of their citizen’s money held in trust–and some of it could be yours.
Read on to learn about unclaimed property, escheated funds, and how to find and claim your unclaimed cash.
What is Unclaimed Property?
Have you ever opened a bank account, hardly used it, and forgotten about it? Or let a payroll check expire before cashing it? Or maybe you were owed a deposit from an old utility account, or an insurance payout, and somehow you never received those payments? Chances are, the Nevada State Treasurer’s Office of Unclaimed Property is holding onto some cash for you.
Learn more about how Sierra treats Dormant Accounts here.
This isn’t unique to Nevada. Every state treasurer has a similar office. Their job is to hold and secure these unclaimed funds until the owner–or their heir or executor–can claim them.
Property becomes unclaimed when there is no activity for a certain period of time–usually three years. If there is over $50 of unclaimed property, then the property holder–bank, credit union, etc.– is required to try and contact the owner using their last known address. If the owner still doesn’t claim the property, then those funds are escheated, or sent to the state treasurer for safekeeping.
The state’s Office of Unclaimed Property is responsible for holding those assets and attempting to inform the rightful owner of their property. There’s no time limit for claiming this property, so some funds sit with the state treasurer for decades without being claimed.
The state usually publishes names of people with unclaimed property in regional newspapers each year, and sends notices to the owner’s last known address. But if you’ve moved, and if you don’t read lists of names in the newspaper, chances are you’ll never see those notices. So, how do you find out if you have unclaimed property to claim?
How do you Claim Your Unclaimed Property or Escheated Funds?
Unfortunately, few people know that the Office of Unclaimed Property exists. We assume the money is lost, if we remember it at all. And that’s how the treasurer ends up with HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS of unclaimed dollars, just sitting there.
The good news–it’s easy to see if you have unclaimed funds with the state treasurer. Nevada has an easy-to-use online tool for finding and claiming property, as do most other states. If your property is worth less than $500, you can claim it in just a few minutes. If it’s worth more or inherited from the original owner, you may need to provide more documentation to claim the funds.
Claim your Property Online
Remember that the funds are held by the state of your last known address at the time of escheatment. If you’ve moved between states, consider checking with the Unclaimed Property office of your old home state as well as your current one.
It may take up to 90 days for your property to be processed and returned, so don’t expect a check this week.
- For Nevada, visit nevadatreasurer.gov/Unclaimed_Property to learn more and search for your unclaimed property.
- For California, visit ucpi.sco.ca.gov
- For Arizona, visit azdor.gov/unclaimed-property
- You can find other state Offices of Unclaimed Property with a simple online search, or through their Treasurer’s Office websites. Just make sure you are on an official .gov page, not a fraudulent site. Always search for these sites yourself, in
Unclaimed Property Fraud
With so much unclaimed property out there, it’s not surprising that the topic has its share of fraud.
Keep an eye out for text messages, phone calls, and emails claiming to be about your unclaimed property. Both fraudulent and legitimate businesses may contact you to try and make money off of your unclaimed property or to steal your info and claim this property for themselves. Never click links, make payments, or share personal information until you are certain of legitimacy.
- Don’t Click Links: Go online and look up your state’s Unclaimed Property office yourself to avoid malware
- Don’t Pay Anyone: Claiming your property is free and easy. If anyone is charging a fee or requesting payment, it’s either fraud or a legal but unnecessary heir-finding business. You can claim property yourself, for free, online or in person.
Claiming your property is free and simple. There is no fee associated with claiming your property, and no time limit for doing so. You do not need to pay a third party to help you claim lost property. At most, you may need a notary.
You do need to share some personal information to verify your claim on the property, but this should only be done through the official Unclaimed Property website, or in person at the office itself. Don’t share this information over the phone, through email, through text, or on any website besides the official one.