By Rep. Ryan Mackenzie (R-Lehigh/Berks)
While it may be hard to believe, Pennsylvania residents have been separated from $3.4 billion of their financial assets. Either they didn’t know the money was theirs, or they forgot it was available.
It’s easier to have unclaimed property, even in large amounts, than initially seems to be the case. Maybe someone overpaid at the doctor or was named as an heir unknowingly. It may seem so far-fetched that it’s more likely to be a scam, but that is not the case at all.
Available assets that convert to unclaimed property after three years include dormant bank accounts, stocks and dividends, certificates of deposit, uncashed payroll checks, uncollected utility deposits, unclaimed life insurance benefits, unredeemed gift certificates, and items abandoned in safe deposit boxes or held in police department stolen property files.
The financial value of unclaimed property can range from a few dollars to tens of thousands of dollars.
Some items even hold personal value, like military medals.
The Treasury is required to advertise the names and addresses of unclaimed property owners in their last known county of residence if the property is valued in excess of $250. The names and addresses of unclaimed property owners appear in the newspaper only once per year, even if they are owed multiple pieces of property.
Individuals should be wary of services or “finders” that charge costly fees to help locate unclaimed property. There is no need to pay a private service to submit a claim when there is a FREE and more effective way to conveniently determine if the state is holding some of your money.
To search Pennsylvania’s unclaimed property online database, go to the Treasury Department’s website, patreasury.gov
, and follow the simple instructions.
If you would like my staff to help you determine if unclaimed property is available in your name, please call the district office at 610-965-9933.
Of course, the only thing better than being reunited with your money is not losing it in the first place. Here are some tips to prevent financial assets from becoming unclaimed property:
• Keep accurate records of bank accounts, stocks, safe deposit boxes, life insurance policies, and other financial matters.
• Correspond with all financial institutions holding savings, checking, IRAs, certificates of deposit and all other accounts at least once every three years.
• Cash all checks for dividends, insurance benefits, and wages.
• Notify a family member or trusted adviser of the location of financial records.
• Prepare a checklist of all financial assets to notify all concerned parties in the event of an address change.
As always, I am interested in hearing your questions and concerns about state government-related issues. To contact me, please call 610-965-9933 or visit my website at RepMackenzie.com
Representative Ryan Mackenzie
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Alison Evans