Finding Forgotten Money

Jul 28, 2021 9:59:25 AM

Discovering a few dollar bills in your pocket is exciting, but what if you unexpectedly found hundreds or even thousands of dollars?

Every year, named beneficiaries miss out on millions of dollars in abandoned property, life insurance benefits, tax refunds and more, simply because they don’t know the money exists.

Ready to find out if there are any forgotten funds in your name? Here’s how to get started.

Abandoned Property

The Massachusetts State Treasurer’s Unclaimed Property Division has paid out more than $225 million over the past two years; and what’s more, the division is in possession of over $3 billion more in unclaimed funds.

Getting an abandoned property payment is one of those situations that sounds too good to be true, which might be why so few people take advantage of it. But there are no hidden traps or cumbersome red tape – the simple fact is that rightful heirs and owners aren’t always aware that they’re entitled to property, and the state can’t always find them.

Search for unclaimed property in Massachusetts by visiting the Unclaimed Property Division online, or call their customer service center at 617-367-0400.

Former Retirement Funds

Ever switched jobs? You might have unclaimed 401(k) funds with your former employer.

If you’re unsure whether or not your retirement savings followed you after leaving a job, it’s a good idea to check in with any companies you’ve worked for. Their HR department should be able to explain what happened to your retirement account after you left.It was possibly already rolled over into your current retirement savings – but if not, they can tell you the next steps on getting access to this money.

You can also search the National Registry of Unclaimed Retirement Benefits. This nationwide database is free to use and helps you determine if there are any outstanding retirement plan account balances in your name.


Family members of a deceased relative may be unaware that they were included in their family member’s will. While property holders will always make efforts to find the heir to an inheritance, it’s possible that a name change, divorce, change of address and so on may interfere with their efforts. The result is that funds go unclaimed and become property of the state.

The National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA) is a good starting place if you believe there may be unclaimed inheritance funds or other unclaimed property in your name. It’s also possible to hire an attorney who specializes in inheritance and unclaimed property, although in most cases it makes sense to do the search yourself – especially because if you do find unclaimed funds, the state will assist you in getting these returned.

Life Insurance Policies

Similar to an inheritance, money sometimes goes unclaimed by life insurance beneficiaries. In this case, the insured person has passed away, but the policy’s death benefit has not yet been claimed by the named beneficiary.

Again, the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA) can help you search for any unclaimed life insurance benefits you believe may exist in your name. If any of your family members are now or formally served in the military, be sure to do an Unclaimed Funds search with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, as Veterans and their relatives are eligible for specific insurance programs – and funds aren’t always claimed.

Tax Refunds

Are you positive you’ve received all tax refunds from your federal or state taxes, including the recent COVID-19 stimulus checks? If not, check in with the IRS online to learn your refund status and see if there are any unprocessed refunds or stimulus payments in your name.

Tax refunds sometimes go undelivered due to a change in address or because you didn’t file a tax return. If you’ve been a victim of identity theft or fraud, it’s especially important to follow up when you haven’t received a tax refund as expected. In all these cases, checking in with the IRS online or by phone is a good first step to getting the money you’re owed.

Tags: Money Tips