We say it every year. The state has lots of money it wants to give away. And it might just be yours. After all, 33 million people in the country have something coming to them.
If they claim it.
In recognition of Unclaimed Property Day (which, for no apparent reason, was Feb. 1) the New Jersey Department of the Treasury is encouraging the public to find out if they are one of the millions with unclaimed assets like forgotten bank accounts, unpaid life insurance benefits, utility deposits and unused rebate cards.
It seems crazy, but it’s true.
When the owner of a financial account or item of value does not initiate any activity for a number of years, and the company cannot locate the owner, the money or properties are submitted to the state.
The Treasury’s Unclaimed Property Administration is currently holding $6.3 billion in forgotten assets.
“Our Unclaimed Property Administration works diligently year-round to safeguard and reunite people with unclaimed assets,” state Treasurer Elizabeth Maher Muoio said. “In doing so, UPA has broken its own records for returning property to rightful owners for two consecutive years. This remarkable success is a testament to UPA’s commitment to its overarching mission and an example of public service at its finest.”
The UPA makes it simple and convenient to search for unclaimed property for free. Anyone can search for their name on unclaimedproperty.nj.gov to determine if the state is holding their property. Individuals are encouraged to search their name, a maiden name, or the name of a business or nonprofit.
While certain third-party companies will charge a fee to connect individuals with their assets, there is never a charge for searching UPA’s database or for claiming property on the state’s secure website. Once approved, the asset is returned to its rightful owner with interest.
In Fiscal Year 2023, UPA returned a record $202.95 million in assets to rightful owners, the result of 73,686 claims filed with the agency. This effort far surpassed UPA’s previous record, set in Fiscal Year 2022, when $164.13 million in assets were returned via 50,867 claims filed. More than $2.4 billion has been returned since the inception of the program.