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Your Take: Have You Had Trouble Claiming Missing Money?

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Handful of CashEvery few months, I write a post about how you should check for missing money (that’s the first one – linking to each state – but nowadays I would just recommend using because it’s easier).

When I found money owed to me from Pennsylvania (an old paycheck from my days at Carnegie Mellon), the process wasn’t difficult but it did take some time. I had to fill out a form, get it notarized, and then mail that form back. After a couple weeks (probably more like months), I received a check for like $30. I wouldn’t call the process difficult, it just took a long time and, honestly, I had forgotten about it by the time the check arrived.

Of course, it wouldn’t surprise me if the missing money departments in each state ran their operations differently. It also wouldn’t surprise me to find out that people are having trouble recovering their missing money. I suspect my process was simpler because the funds were relatively small, under a hundred dollars. I bet the process would be different if we were talking about thousands of dollars and involving an estate, as was the case in the CNN Money article.

Have you experienced trouble trying to reclaim missing money?

(Photo Credit: stevendepolo)

{ 14 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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14 Responses to “Your Take: Have You Had Trouble Claiming Missing Money?”

  1. LabHandyman says:

    I have had two experiences with deceased family members. You have an extra set of hoops with deceased people by proving you’re their lawful heirs/executors.

    The first experience was with Texas for less than $1k. Aside from having to dig up old paperwork, the process took a couple months, but it was pretty easy once the paperwork was sent.

    The second experience was in CT for $7k. Since it was a larger sum involved I had a process that took about 3 years and jumping through, Probate hoops, CT Treasury Hoops with finally having to post an indemnity bond. All told, it took 3 years.

    You have to be diligent and don’t expect anything quickly.

  2. PawPrint says:

    I had to jump through a few hoops to claim money owed my late father, but only because since moving I’d misplaced the death certificate and some trust documents.

  3. J says:

    Is there ever a way of knowing how much the amount is BEFORE you go through the process? If I’m owed several hundred dollars I’m more willing to jump through hoops than if I’m just going to get a $10 check. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love $10, but if there’s too much trouble involved, forget it.

  4. I never have missing money. My son has ‘found’ money twice though. Both times he had to fill out a form, get it notarized, and send it in. Both times the money was under a thousand dollars.

  5. freeby50 says:

    THe process in my state was pretty simple. Get a form notarized, mail it in, wait a couple weeks, get a check in the mail. But the money was in my name so that makes it simple.

  6. freeby50 says:

    The websites generally give a range on the value of money.
    THe missingmoney site indicates if the amount of money is more or less than $100 or if its unknown. The individual state may give more money. A deceased relative of mine shows an amount “under $100” at MissingMoney and the state website says its $50-100.

  7. admiral58 says:

    Thanks for the post, I never knew about this.

  8. dmosinee says:

    I got back about $350 from the state of Wisconsin a year ago. Apparently I had left some money in a checking account I had in college and completely forgot about it. After 5 years of inactivity, the bank closed the account and handed the money over to the state. A relative saw my name in the missing money section of one of the newspapers and called me.

    The process was very simple, and (for me at least) I didn’t even have to get something notarized. The form was fairly long, but it only took me 10 minutes to fill out, and I got my check about 5 weeks later.

  9. admiral58 says:

    I also was able to find some missing money for a relative.

  10. The problem with is that not all states participate. Click on the map of the US on the hone page. It will take you to a color-coded map. Green states participate, blue do not. So if you live in California or any of the other nonparticipating states, and enter your name on, you won’t find any listings, even though there may be some in CA.
    In addition, I have found that the very old listings are not on it but can usually be found on the state site.
    States have to pay to post their info on it. That why some of them choose to not participate. This is why I now only refer people to It’s just easier than going through this explanation.
    Thanks for sharing the link to the CNNMoney story that I was mentioned in!

  11. Shirley says:

    I did find a small amount of money listed for my brother, but he never claimed it. He said the amount was about equal to what claiming it would have cost him.

    Does this money eventually go to the state?

  12. admiral58 says:

    Yes, the money would eventually go to the state. He can think of it as a nice contribution. Although I can’t imagine why it would cost him very much. Just a few letters back and forth to confirm identity.

  13. daenyll says:

    i’ve never found money, but my sister and father have

  14. mannymacho says:

    My process was easy, all I had to do was mail a photocopy of my old driver’s license showing the old address. I think the amount was around $80.

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