The Virginia Unclaimed Property Search
The state of Virginia (and every other state) runs a service called the Unclaimed Property Program. The program is essentially a state-wide “lost & found” that aims to reunite consumers with money (or other property) that is rightfully theirs, but which they either forgot about or didn’t receive from a vendor.
So before you start digging into coat pockets and flipping over couch cushions to find a few bucks, consider the Virginia unclaimed property program might be one of the easiest ways to find lost money.
What is Unclaimed Property?
Property generally becomes unclaimed after the owner cannot be located, or a financial account goes a prolonged period of time without any activity. In other words, the property is considered abandoned. Most property is considered abandoned after five years of inactivity in Virginia (but it could be as short as one year or as long as 15 years depending on what it is). The property is then turned over to the state after this time period has elapsed.
You might be wondering how someone can let money go unnoticed, but it’s more common than you’d think – every year consumers leave billions of dollars on the table. People move, change banks, and change service providers all the time. It’s easy for money to fall through the cracks amidst so many life changes. For example – your old cable company sends a refund check to an old address, or you forget to close a checking account you haven’t used in years.
What types of property are included?
Only certain types of property are recoverable under the Virginia unclaimed property program.
Examples of unclaimed property in Virginia include:
- Bank or financial accounts
- Certificates of deposit
- Shares of stock and dividends
- Customer refunds
- Insurance proceeds
- Safety deposit boxes
The above property can be owned by individuals, businesses, and even the estate of someone who has died. Physical assets such as real estate and vehicles are generally not included.
How do I know if I have unclaimed property?
Answer a few basic identifying questions and you’ll know within seconds. It will show what it is, who it’s from, and a dollar value range.
A fair warning before you get too excited: having unclaimed property doesn’t mean you hit the jackpot! There is no minimum dollar amount, so it’s possible your unclaimed property could be less than $1 .
How do I reclaim my property?
Filing a claim is very easy and better yet, 100% free in Virginia! First, you need to create an online account (see below screenshot).
Next fill out the form to prove your identity (they can’t just hand the money over without proof!). It the total is less than $200 you can fax the form; if over $200 you must mail it. You can also deliver the form in person, but do not expect cash on the spot. You’ll still have to wait a few weeks for it to process just like everyone else.
That’s it! It usually takes about 6-8 weeks for a claim to be reviewed and for a check to be mailed out. If it’s property that’s not readily convertible to cash then you will receive instructions on how to retrieve your property.
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