You have probably read the articles. Millions of dollars go unclaimed every year. Are you entitled to unclaimed funds? It is no secret that millions of dollars go unclaimed due to a variety of circumstances. Those circumstances may be moving, leaving an unknown pension benefit behind or a change in name. Whatever the reason, it does happen from circumstances we have created and should be aware of.
What we don’t know is what goes unclaimed that was earmarked for a beneficiary. Maybe you were a beneficiary of someone’s estate and never knew it. Maybe they had a life insurance policy that you were a beneficiary of and they never told you. This happens more than you think, and the stories are endless. Since many assets name a beneficiary (primary and contingent), unless you are aware of them or you have an advisor/attorney handling the settlement, this could easily happen to you.
The amount of unclaimed assets is in the billions*. The amount doesn’t really matter, but what does matter is that this can easily be avoided by some simple awareness and recording of what you own. All you need to do is record what you own (of course in a secure way) and let someone know that it is kept somewhere. It is as easy as that. The hard part is most people feel awkward letting someone know what they have, and this is where the problem comes from.
Here is a list of some of the most popular items that go unclaimed.
1. Gift Cards
2. U.S. Treasury securities
3. Small balances at banks and financial institutions
4. Life Insurance policies
5. Payroll checks
6. Pension fund benefits
7. Survivor benefits
8. Security deposits and escrow accounts
Today it is easier to locate missing assets. There are a number of databases that help when searching for unclaimed assets and the states of the deceased sometimes have their own websites with a list of unclaimed assets. Some popular sites to find assets are www.missingmoney.com, www.unclaimedretirementbenefits.com and www.unclaimed.org.
However, it is important to focus on not letting this happen to you or your family. There are many electronic portals where you can store information and provide beneficiary contact in case something happens. Those same portals can be connected to the NTIS/Master Death Index so if something does happen, your death will be reported and your information will be shared to your beneficiaries. With this estate planning software technology, anonymity can be kept but the information can be preserved for the next generation.
If you are looking for a secure and worthwhile portal, Yourefolio may be worth looking at. The portal is secure and equipped with 256-bit encryption at rest and at transit. Yourefolio has cyber liability policies to protect you and your family in case of a breach. The best part of the platform is that it is linked to the NTIS/Master Death File and in case something happens, your beneficiaries will be notified anonymously. In a worst case scenario, at least write out a list and place it in a safe so someone will know to access it.
The transfer of wealth is important, especially to your beneficiaries and loved ones. It may make the difference in their ability to move ahead. Don’t wait. We never know when our time will come. A simple solution can prevent a very big headache.
*New York Times