The opportunity for your company to find and recover unclaimed property has never been greater than it is right now. According to the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators, in 2016, $3.24 billion was returned to the rightful owners by jurisdictions and $7.76 billion was collected by those same jurisdictions. It is widely thought there could be over $40 billion in unclaimed property held by the states and jurisdictions. However, states are not the only source of unclaimed property; cities, counties, and foreign countries could also be holding your company’s property. Given this substantial amount of unclaimed property, states and third party locators alike have increased their efforts to assist individuals and corporations in the recovery of their lost property. The question is how do you find your property and what are the steps to recover those item.
How do you find your property?
All states and jurisdictions offer on-line portals to search and locate your assets. Some states run their own portals posted on their own state site. Other states utilize a third party website such as MissingMoney.com. Whether the state runs their own site or outsources to a third party, these are usually the quickest means to locate your property.
For unclaimed property not held by the state, many other locations such as a city or county do not maintain websites where you can easily search. One of the most efficient means of locating unclaimed property held by cities or counties is to call any location where your company may operate to see if any outstanding funds exist. Because these locations are seldom regulated by state unclaimed property departments, funds could be sitting in any one of the thousands of such locations.
What are the steps to recover funds?
The typical method is to obtain the necessary claim forms, complete and execute the forms, and provide proof of ownership documentation. Depending on the holder, there may be several documents required to prove ownership. Furthermore each location has a different claim form that requires different authorized signatories or notarizations. The most important thing to remember when filing a claim is to make sure you meet the location’s requirements - whether that is proof of address, proof of relationship, or proof of ownership – at the onset of filing a claim. Forgetting to include certain documents could prolong the claims process and ultimately lead to your claim being rejected.
If you are approached by a third party asset locator or a person/company who specializes in the location and recovery of a property, always make sure the proposed fee for their services is within the legal limit. Many states regulate the maximum percentage a third party can charge a client to help them recover their property. Furthermore, ensure the property is still outstanding before contracting a third party. It is possible for a third party to uncover an item currently being resolved by you or your organization.
With the amount of property available at both state and non-state locations, it is essential to implement a process for searching and recovering unclaimed property. Whether utilizing a third party or performing your own searches and recoveries, it is imperative to be diligent and thorough because you never know where a large item could be hiding.
If you’d like to learn more, visit MarketSphere’s website and contact us to answer all your questions about finding, and recovering, unclaimed assets that could boost your bottom line.