I started writing some small articles on each state’s unclaimed property division, and just how much in unclaimed funds they are holding. I have found this to be a very difficult and tedious task, as some states simply neglect their unclaimed property division and the website for the division. You can find these small articles at the About Your State page
I recently sent out an e-mail to every state’s unclaimed property division in the U.S. requesting information on their unclaimed property division. The e-mail requested information on how much in unclaimed funds they were currently holding, how many unclaimed property accounts they currently had. It also requested how much money and property was turned over annually to the state, and how much money was returned to rightful owners and heirs each year.
I was surprised when I only received about 15 e-mails back with the information I had requested. At this point I knew I would be reading through miles of each states annual financial reports and publications. Some states make the information fairly easy to find. This information is usually in their annual financial reports, publications, or press releases.
However, some U.S. states are clearly neglecting to update the unclaimed property division section of their website. For instance one website stated on the home page they were holding 1 billion in unclaimed property. After digging a little deeper into the annual report I found they were actually holding 2.2 billion in unclaimed property. They were just a little bit off on that one. Yes, I am being sarcastic.
I have even called some states in an attempt to get the total of unclaimed funds currently being held when I couldn’t find the information on their website. I couldn’t believe it when some of the workers interrogated me on the phone, asking what I needed this information for. Isn’t there something called the freedom of information act. Beside that, this is public information that really doesn’t need any kind of written request to obtain. There was no reason for this kind of behavior from the government employees.
There are only a few states I am having real problems obtaining this information from. I gotta to tell you though. The main reason I started this project of getting all the totals in unclaimed funds for each state is simply to inform the public. There is a huge lack of factual information on the internet about unclaimed property and just how much they are holding in unclaimed funds. For example one self proclaimed money expert’s numbers were way off. I won’t name any names but he loves the phrase “tens of millions”, when in fact most states are holding in the hundreds of millions and some even in the billions. In this individuals attempt to get you jacked up about signing up for his website he left out too many facts.