moneyI work in the financial services industry. Not long ago a client told me a story about an unexpected windfall. A life insurance policy that she and her husband had surrendered for the cash value years before had a benefit that they hadn’t understood at the time. Part of the policy premiums they paid for years was invested in stocks or a fund that grew along with the death benefit of the policy. When the life insurance was surrendered that separate account was left untouched. Eventually her husband was diagnosed with a terminal illness, and before he passed away the family dealt with as much of his estate as they could. Somehow their names got on a list and they received a letter stating that, for a huge finder’s fee, a company would search for any unclaimed money in his name.

Instead of using that company the family did research on their own and found the benefit from that old policy had been turned over to the state. My client found the money, sent in the paperwork which proved ownership, and was rewarded with Ten Thousand Dollars(!) that would have gone unclaimed. Although in the years that passed from when the original policy was surrendered the family never changed their name, address or telephone number, the insurance company sent that money to the state because “they could not contact the owners of the original policy”. This happens far more often than you would think.

I have had my own difficulties in this area. When I left the employment of a huge company back in 2000, I was certain that I was owed a lot more accrued vacation pay than I received on my last paycheck. When I protested, many phone calls and certified letters were exchanged to no avail. Five years later I found that money listed as unclaimed.

If you’d like to make your own search for unclaimed funds you can start here –
Click on the state, provide the name and the website does the work for you.

I’d suggest you also key in the names of parents or other family members that may have left an inheritance behind.

Have you ever experienced this? My little windfall was several hundred dollars. How much was yours?

Wendy Clyde

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