What is Unclaimed Money in Pennsylvania?
Pennsylvania unclaimed money refers to funds or valuable property abandoned, forgotten or uncollected by its rightful owner due to significant life events or changes. The most common life events and changes that cause residents of Pennsylvania to have unclaimed money include moving without updating the address on financial documents, relocation to a new country, memory-altering disease or injury, and even death.
Per the Pennsylvania Disposition of Abandoned and Unclaimed Property Act (DAUPA), financial institutions must report funds as unclaimed money following a specified period of inactivity. This period of inactivity varies from three years to fifteen years. Following this report, the Office of State Treasurer shall take temporary custody of the unclaimed money until the rightful owner, immediate family members, or authorized representatives find the unclaimed money and submit a claim.
How to Find Unclaimed Money in Pennsylvania
The search for unclaimed money in Pennsylvania begins on the Bureau of Unclaimed Property Search Index. This portal lets interested persons perform a name-based search for unclaimed money using the original owner’s full name or company name. Providing the associated address helps to narrow down the search for unclaimed money as well.
A search on this index will provide the full name of the original, rightful owner of the unclaimed money, and any known co-owner. The index will also show the associated address of the individual, the approximate amount left unclaimed, and the property ID. These details are important for eventually filing a claim for the unclaimed funds.
How Do I Find Unclaimed Money for Free?
The Bureau of Unclaimed Property Search Index is free to use but only shows unclaimed property and funds in Pennsylvania. Residents can also have unclaimed money with federal agencies and even foreign governments. And like the Bureau, these entities also maintain online government lists of unclaimed money that interested persons can use to find unclaimed money for free. Examples include the HUD refunds finder, the unclaimed bankruptcy funds locator, and Treasury Hunt.
How to Claim Unclaimed Money in Pennsylvania
Upon confirming the existence of the unclaimed money, proceed to submit a claim with the Bureau of Unclaimed Property. The government agency streamlines this process so that persons who find unclaimed money with the search index can add the results into a cart and claim the funds online. This procedure works like online shopping.
First, the claimant clicks the “Add” button on the left side next to each search result. The system immediately creates a “Claims cart” that appears on the right side of the screen. It is best to do this online claim using a personal computer, but filing a claim with a smartphone is also acceptable.
Once the claimant has selected all instances of the unclaimed money, they must click “Claim properties in my cart” — similar to the checkout process in online shopping. Doing this leads the claimant to a page where they must show their relationship to the property or funds. The system will prompt the claimant to provide their personal and contact information as well as social security number to fast-track the claim.
Providing these details creates a claim for the selected items, and administrative staff will review the information provided. Then, the Bureau of Unclaimed Property will notify the claimant with a list of supporting documentation that they must upload — if the individual created an account on the portal. Otherwise, the agency will send claim forms to the claimant using the contact information provided. The claims form will also contain additional instructions and a list of supporting documentation that the claimant must attach and send back to the Bureau for processing.
These instructions and supporting documentation required for processing unclaimed money vary from person to person. Most persons must, however, submit a government-issued photo ID like a driver’s license or a US passport. Immediate family members filing a claim on a relative’s behalf must provide vital records, and third-party representatives must submit an authorization document like a certified court order or Power of Attorney.
How Long Does It Take to Get Unclaimed Money in Pennsylvania?
It depends. The average timeline from claim to receiving the unclaimed funds in Pennsylvania is sixty (60) days. This processing time typically depends on administrative workload, the claimant’s submission of supporting documentation, and the mode of filing — online or via mail.
In the meantime, concerned persons can check the claim status online. Alternatively, contact the Bureau of Unclaimed Money directly by calling (800) 222-2046 or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who Can Claim Unclaimed Money From Deceased Relatives?
Immediate family members and authorized representatives with supporting legal documents can find and claim unclaimed money for deceased relatives in Pennsylvania. Immediate family members must state their relationship to the unclaimed money, provide a certified death certificate, and other required documents.
Likewise, authorized representatives claiming unclaimed funds for deceased persons must also provide a certified death certificate along with supporting documents such as a will, certified court order, letter of administration, or power of attorney. The process remains similar — it starts online and continues online or starts online and continues via mail.
What Happens to Unclaimed Money in Pennsylvania if No One Claims It?
The Pennsylvania Disposition of Abandoned and Unclaimed Property Act empowers the State Treasurer to sell unclaimed property at public auctions and deposit unclaimed money into the Rightful Owners' Claims Payment Fund after a reasonable time has passed.
The rightful owner, immediate family members, and authorized representatives can still find and claim unclaimed money. However, they will only receive the value of the money deposited at the time. The Act specified “a reasonable amount of time,” but the disposition of unclaimed money usually happens after fifteen (15) years of escheatment and repeated attempts to contact the rightful owner.
Can Someone in Pennsylvania Claim Unclaimed Money From Another State?
Yes. However, these individuals must follow the state’s specific instructions for finding and claiming unclaimed money escheated to the state.