Better Than Baseball?
‘Unclaimed Property’ May Hold a Father’s Day Surprise
Father’s Day commercials would have you believe that dad would appreciate celebrating with a backyard barbecue and great seats at a baseball game. Why not put an extra special spin on the holiday by helping dad uncover lost treasure with a quick and easy search at Michigan Unclaimed Property?
The Michigan Department of Treasury has millions of dollars in lost or forgotten assets from dormant bank accounts, uncashed checks, stock certificates and valuables left in safe deposit boxes.
How does this happen?
It is difficult to imagine forgetting about your money or valuables, but it happens often for very understandable reasons:
TEN YEARS AGO, you moved, emptied your local bank account, and canceled your homeowner’s insurance. The insurance company electronically refunded your last payment, but it sat long forgotten in that bank account you no longer use…
YOUR GREAT-UNCLE ED, age 101, passed away in 2015. He outlived all his closest relatives and you assumed he left nothing but his last social security payment. Through the 1940s-1980s, however, Ed made some small but savvy investments in little companies (that grew much, much larger) and you had no idea your late uncle had dividend checks waiting…
GRANDMA ZELDA lived in eleven different Michigan cities as an adult. Before she died twenty-five years ago, she mentioned a safe deposit box to her favorite grandchild (you) but neglected to mention the name of the bank or where it was located. You know the safe deposit box contained grandpa’s military medals and the secret family recipe for Zelda’s Berry Best Bundt Cake…
Because the properties in these three scenarios are considered abandoned, unclaimed and dormant by the bank or company entrusted with them, they were turned over to the state as required by law. The Michigan Department of Treasury is the custodian of these assets and returns them to their owners (or the owners’ heirs) when they are rightfully claimed. [Treasury Disclaimer: family recipes are not a category under ‘unclaimed property’!]
What does this mean for you?
You or a family member could have lost property waiting for you to claim!
According to the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA), “roughly 1 in 10 Americans have unclaimed property, and in 2019, the average claim paid was $1,780.” Annually, over 3 billion dollars in unclaimed property is returned to individuals and organizations across all fifty states.
Searching for and claiming property is easy (and free!). For unclaimed money, stocks and jewelry in Michigan, go to Michigan Unclaimed Property and enter the name of a person or company. All properties listed are either $50 or more, stock proceeds, or tangible items such as safe deposit box contents. Automobiles, houses and land are not included within Unclaimed Property and are often components of local county or police auctions.
“We receive thousands of new property reports every July, so we recommend that people check our website at least once or twice each year to see whether they, or a family member, may have property with us,” says State Administrative Manager Terry Stanton. “Claiming property is as easy as filling out an on-line form and hitting ‘Submit.’”
Making the claim process even simpler, Stanton also notes that verifying documentation for claims may be uploaded directly to the State through the Unclaimed Property website. There’s no need to use a third party search service; Michigan Unclaimed Property’s services are all free! NAUPA offers an interactive map to help you quickly access unclaimed property in any state you have worked or resided.
In addition to watching a Tigers’ game with your dad on Sunday, don’t forget to stop online for a quick unclaimed property search. Because we know what’s better than baseball, and that’s discovering your great grandpa kept a mint 1952 Mickey Mantle baseball card in an old safe deposit box…and learning your dusty collectible is now worth $5.2 million.
Happy Father’s Day!