Holiday Treasure-Hunting

Arthur Stein Financial, LLC |

This being the season of gifts and miracles, I’m delighted to direct you to a potential source for extra cash. Across the nation, billions of dollars are languishing in state custody. And some of that may be yours.

A recent New York Times article stated that state-run depositories are filled with unclaimed money: stock dividends, 401(k) retirement funds, tax refunds, bank accounts and the like.

According to the article, state laws may impose a due-diligence requirement for entities that can’t find the rightful owners of money or other property. But, in practice, this may be met by simply sending a letter to the last known postal address or publishing names in a local newspaper.

When it comes to unclaimed retirement accounts, companies do Internet searches and turn to commercial databases. But the law allows them to turn accounts over to their state’s unclaimed property fund after just three years of no contact from the account holder.

What to do? According to the article, you should give some online databases a whirl. At, you can do a simultaneous search of unclaimed property databases. You also should check your state’s individual site; you can find a link to it at Also, make sure that all former employers have your current address.

My wife and used these websites and found some missing funds. We applied to the State of Maryland and are waiting for a refund.

Happy holidays – and happy hunting!