MD Preferred Blog

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Wouldn’t you like a few hundred extra bucks in your pocket?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Have you ever found money in the pocket of an old pair of jeans, or your lab coat, that you had completely forgotten about? It’s always a nice feeling to find “lost” money, but there is a much bigger pocket full of money that you may be overlooking – your state’s unclaimed property list. Chances are that over the course of your medical education and training, you have lived in a few different cities and states. You diligently closed your accounts – telephone, cable, utilities, maybe even a bank account. But maybe there was some seemingly insignificant account you overlooked…Anytime a company owes you money and cannot contact you for whatever reason, the company cannot legally keep your money and is required to turn it over to the state as unclaimed (also known as escheat). Laws vary by state, but the general rule is that companies must escheat assets inactive for 3 years. The most common types of property turned over to the state are earned interest on a closed savings account, rebate or refund check, dividends, stocks, and bonds; real estate and unused gift certificates are usually excluded. According to their websites, the State of California is currently in possession of more than $5.7 billion in unclaimed property belonging to approximately 11.6 million individuals and organizations; New York has $10.5 billion, and Texas has $2.2 billion. The good news is that it is easy to find and collect your money…