FROM THE REFERENCE DESK
UNCLAIMED PROPERTY and UNCLAIMED MONEY
A common question at the reference desk is how to find money or property that may have gone unclaimed due to forgotten accounts, insurance policies, uncashed checks, or death. Few people realize that all states are required by law to return unclaimed assets to their rightful owners.
According to The National Association of Unclaimed Property Administration (NAUPA), all states, U.S. territories and some Canadian provinces (Quebec, Alberta, and British Columbia) have programs that actively search for the owners of unclaimed property.
The NAUPA website houses state databases that provide a starting point for finding unclaimed family money or property. A click on a state from the website’s map will lead to that state’s unclaimed property web page. The search is free.
Michigan’s Department of Treasury includes links to Michigan’s Money Quest, a database for unclaimed property in the State of Michigan; the NAUPA website; and the Missing Money website. If unclaimed property is found, there is a link to the Initial Unclaimed Property Inquiry Form.
NAUPA’s website includes tips on keeping one’s property from becoming lost. They suggest the following:
- Contact institutions that hold your money or property yearly, or whenever an address or marital status changes.
- Keep accurate records of all financial accounts and insurance policies. Include bank account names, addresses and account numbers.
- Don’t forget about rental security and utility deposits when moving
- Cash all dividend checks, paychecks, and insurance settlements promptly
- Keep accurate records of any safety deposit boxes and make sure an extra key is given to a trusted person
- Prepare and file a will or a trust with detailed information about assets
Be sure to check out the Monroe County Library System for books that will assist in personal record-keeping and various aspects of estate-planning.
8 ways to avoid probate
By: Mary Randolph
Book Description: “Suggests methods for avoiding probate court, including setting up payable-on-death bank accounts, naming a beneficiary for retirement accounts, registering stocks on transfer-on-death forms, and creating a living trust.” –Summary
American Bar Association guide to wills & estates: everything you need to know about wills, estates, trusts & taxes
By: American Bar Association
Book Description: “A user-friendly guide that “Features everything necessary to know about planning an estate and preparing a will.” --Summary
Get it together: organize your records so your family won’t have to
By: Melanie Cullen with Shae Irving
Book Description: “This workbook with CD-ROM is a complete guide to collecting and organizing important papers and information for yourself and for loved ones who will handle your affairs after your death.” –Summary
Make your own last will & testament
Published By: Enodare Publishing
Book Description: “This book provides you with all you need to make your own customized last will. You will learn about last wills, making gifts, executors, intestacy, probate, estate tax, and much more.” –Summary
My wishes: your plan for communicating and organizing the essential information your family needs
By: Benjamin Berkley
Book Description: “An essential guide to organizing your life and preparing for the future, providing an effective way to communicate life plans to loved ones. It gives family immediate access to information when long searches for vital documents are the last thing they want to do.” –Summary
Your Michigan wills, trusts, & estates explained simply: important information you need to know for Michigan residents
By: Linda C. Ashar
Book Description: “A state-specific book that provides all the information necessary for setting up a will, trust or estate that will fully carry out your last wishes and protect your loved ones.” –Summary
Other Reference Desk Items:
@ Your Library
16th Poet Laureate Named!
2008 Summer Olympics - Beijing, China
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
Booster Seat Law - Effective July 1, 2008
Caring for your Live-Cut Evergreen Tree
Cinco De Mayo
Deleting Website Accounts
Do you have a healthy car?
Earned Income Tax Credit, Just File It, And Maximizing Tax Returns In 2009
Earth Hour 2008
Economic Info: How Recessions Work
Free 411 Telephone Directory Assistance
Free Cell Phone Assistance for Low-Income Consumers
Free Fishing Weekend – June 12-13, 2010
Fuel Economy Guide
Gas Price Watch
Gift Buying Awareness
Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill
Influenza A (H1N1) Outbreak (Swine Flu)
Lifesavers for a Sinking Economy
Michigan Dashboard – Measuring Michigan’s Performance
Michigan Hunting 2011
Michigan Minimum Wage Goes Up
Michigan Smoking Ban Begins May 1, 2010
Motivating Kids to Read
Pony Express - 150th Anniversary of the First Ride
Power Outage Preparedness
Pulitzer Prize Winners 2011
Raisinville Road Bridge
The Safety of Household Products
Shelf life of food and food safety
Social Security Turns 75
Stress-Free Holiday Tips
Summer Travel 2009
TV Converter Box Coupon Program
Understanding Your Telephone Bill
U.S. Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) - Passport Information
Veterans History Project