Unclaimed money is money that has not been claimed by any heir or beneficiary, and has been turned over to the state. You may have some unclaimed money or unclaimed inheritance from deceased relatives without you knowing it. Deceased relatives may not have been organized with their finances and may have purchased insurance policies and annuities, forgetting about them. Some executors or administrators may have neglected to search for unclaimed funds or may have searched for it, but at the time of search, was still not with New York State’s Office of Unclaimed Funds.
Turning over unclaimed assets to the state
All companies are required to turn over unclaimed assets to the state. These unclaimed assets can take the form of bank accounts, life insurance policies, certificates of deposit, savings bonds, dividend or payroll checks, IRA accounts, 401K retirement plans, safety deposit box contents, securities, pension benefits, and uncashed checks.
Usually, property is deemed abandoned in New York when there has been no activity in the account for a set period of time, usually between two to five years, depending on the property. For this reason, an administrator or executor may have been appointed, but if the deceased had no record of owning such property, the executor or administrator may not know of such amount. Even if the executor or administrator checked the unclaimed funds, it would not be there because property is turned over in the Office of Unclaimed Funds between two to five years after the cessation of activity in the account. If you are an heir, it is to your advantage to keep on checking the proper websites to see if you are the rightful heir to unclaimed assets, money or inheritance.
The unclaimed assets or unclaimed inheritance
You can search for unclaimed assets or unclaimed inheritance here:
New York State Comptroller
Life insurance policy finder in New York
Unclaimed IRAs (search by state)
When searching for unclaimed money or inheritance, use the last name first and the first initial of the first name. This will narrow your search accordingly. It will still be broad enough that even if your deceased relative’s name was misspelled wrongly, you will be able to find it. If your deceased relative has two first or two last names or a hyphenated name, you can try both names together with a hyphen (e.g. Smith-Washington), with a space (e.g. Smith Washington), or without a space (e.g. SmithWashington). You can also try looking for the nickname. If the name is frequently misspelled, use the misspelled name.
How to withdraw unclaimed money or inheritance
In New York, unclaimed money or inheritance must be claimed by the executor or administrator, especially if the claim exceeds $1000. If you are the designated beneficiary, however, you will be entitled to the unclaimed money or inheritance without need of appointment of a personal representative of the estate.
The state will provide you with the procedure to claim the unclaimed money or inheritance. Usually, they will require a copy of the death certificate (which you can get from the Department of Health), proof of address or ownership connecting owner to the address or funds, letters of testamentary or administration issued by the court certifying your appointment, dated within the last six months, or a small estates affidavit and table of heirs (for properties less than $50,000).
In New York, there are billions of lost money that have not been claimed. Search to see if you are entitled to it. You can input the names of deceased relatives to ensure you are not missing out any windfall that you may be entitled to.