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Unclaimed Bank Accounts

Lost, Forgotten, and Unclaimed Bank Accounts.

Bank accounts are a very common form of unclaimed property. In today’s busy and mobile society it can be very easy to misplace records and keep up with all the financial institutions you do business with. The most common way of losing track of a bank account is simply by moving to a different address. Another very common way for bank accounts becoming unclaimed is when a family death occurs. Futhermore, most family members are not aware of other family members financial accounts. These accounts can be impossible to find until they are turned over to the respective state’s unclaimed property division.

Often times, accounts with banks and credit unions will be marked as dormant in as little as six months, and can even be transferred to the state unclaimed property division in as little as one year. Each state decides when a bank account is unclaimed or abandoned. Most state programs look at whether there has been any customer initiated activity or positive owner contact within the last one to five years. Each state sets the period.

Before the bank sends the account balance to the state, the bank is usually required to try to find the customer. Some banks publish the names of the account holders in a local newspaper. Some banks send a letter to the last known address of the account holder. However, there is usually little effort on the banks behalf to make contact with the account holder. The bank then turns over the account balance to the state if there is no contact from the account holder.

Here are some ways bank accounts can become abandoned or unclaimed.

  • If you moved and forgot to notify your bank.
  • If your forwarding order with the post office expired.
  • If a regular account statement was as marked undeliverable.
  • If you had a relative who passed on, leaving the bank account.
  • Name changes following marriage or divorce.