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Extension > Family > Live Healthy, Live Well > Healthy Wallets > Spending and Saving > Are You the Owner of Unclaimed Property?

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Spending and Saving

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Are You the Owner of Unclaimed Property?

Rosemary K. Heins, Extension Educator — Family Resource Management

Reviewed March 2016 by Sharon Powell, Extension Educator — Family Resiliency.

Sometimes we forget "stuff" or we may not know what is ours. At any given time the state of Minnesota holds millions of dollars in unclaimed property that has been abandoned or otherwise not claimed by citizens. The “property” in this case is financial, i.e., money, residing in dormant bank accounts, uncashed checks, and other sources, such as utility security deposits or insurance benefits. Most unclaimed property results from a change in address, a death, or just plain forgetfulness.

There is no charge or cost to find out if a state is holding funds that belong to you. This is something you can do by yourself for free just by contacting the appropriate government agencies. There are private companies, known as "skip tracers," that charge from 20 to 30 percent of the value of the property to claim it for you, but you don’t need to use them.

You can find out if you are the owner or the heir to unclaimed financial property held by the state by contacting the Minnesota Department of Commerce Unclaimed Property Division. That department maintains an unclaimed property database you can check online. If you have lived in other states or have some other connection to them, you can also go online to check unclaimed property databases from those states.

There are federal government unclaimed property information websites, too. Visit the Minnesota Department of Commerce “Missing Money” website (linked below) to do a national search for any unclaimed funds owed to you.

Who knows what money may be out there waiting for you to claim. It could be a nice surprise!

Sources

Missing Money. (2012). St. Paul, MN: Minnesota Department of Commerce.

Unclaimed Property: Holder reporting and compliance. St. Paul, MN: Minnesota Department of Commerce.

Related Resources

Missing MoneyMinnesota Department of Commerce — Explains unclaimed property and includes instructions and links on how to make a claim.

Is the State Holding Your Unclaimed Property?Office of the Minnesota Attorney General — How to find unclaimed financial property held by Minnesota, other states, and the federal government.

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