The agency is tasked with keeping such funds until their rightful owners come forward. The UPA currently holds over $5 billion in unclaimed property, including abandoned money, and the state distributed over $160 million during the 2022 fiscal year.
Some of the most common reasons why funds become abandoned or unclaimed include:
* Inability to locate heirs of deceased rightful owners * Address or last name change * Quitting a job and forgetting to collect the last paycheck or commission * Inactive accounts or bank closure * Failure to update payment information
Types of Unclaimed Money and Their Dormancy Period in New Jersey
There are different types of unclaimed money, each having its dormancy period.
The dormancy period is the duration between the period when the money is held by a financial authority (holder) and when it is turned over to the state. Below are the types of unclaimed funds and their dormancy periods:
* Savings: three years * Checking: three years * Certificate of deposit: three years * Matured life insurance: three years * Non-bank money orders: three years * Contents of safe deposit boxes: five years * Traveler’s check: three years * Utility refunds: one year * Dividends: three years * Utility deposits: one year * Securities: three years * Debts (bonds): five years * Stocks: three to five years * Wages: one year * Fiduciaries: three years * Vendor-vendor payments: three years * Gift certificate: five years
How to Find Unclaimed Money in New Jersey
The New Jersey Unclaimed Property Administration maintains unclaimed money in the state. The agency is the central repository of unclaimed funds, and persons searching for unclaimed money can commence a search by visiting the agency.
There are two ways to locate unclaimed money in New Jersey: via the unclaimed property website or physically submitting a claim to the agency.
The platform maintains a publicly searchable online database, which parties can use to conduct a name-based search and submit their claim.
To use it, simply follow the steps below:
* Visit the official website of the unclaimed property administration * Select the “Search for Unclaimed Property” button and type in your first and last name in the required boxes * Check the results and click on “Claim” next to every property that you are entitled to * Go to the “View Claimed Properties” section and select the appropriate option from the “Claimant Relationship” drop-down menu * Click on “File Claim” to complete the e-form with personal information, including your social security number Submit your claim
Besides the information provided above, you will be required to provide supporting documentation to help process your claim.
Some of these documents include a valid ID like a driver’s license or passport, birth certificate, vital record, court orders, address record, death certificate, etc.
If your claim is approved, the state’s Department of Treasury will issue a check equivalent to the amount of unclaimed money and interest accrued over time. If your claim is denied, you can also appeal such a decision.
Alternatively, claimants can also submit a paper claim for unclaimed funds, in a process known as mail-order claim.
First, claimants should ensure they fill and submit an application for unclaimed money including their full legal name, the nature of the unclaimed money, the financial institution, the approximate amount of money left unclaimed, and the final date of business action.
After that, it is necessary for the claimant to attach an authorized government-issued form of identification with other vital documentation establishing how they are related to the initial owner or the unclaimed funds.
After that, the claimant must enclose the application package in a self-addressed envelope and send it by mail using the following address:
ATTN: Claim Section New Jersey State Unclaimed Property Administration PO Box 214 Trenton, New Jersey 08625-0214 Or you can also reach them via phone on (609) 292-9200
The duration of the response usually depends on the nature of the unclaimed money in question.
However, the Unclaimed Property Administration usually processes online applications within two weeks. Mail applications typically take longer and can take between two to three months to process.
There are also third-party platforms offering unclaimed money search services; however, these sites are mostly not government-sponsored, meaning the accuracy and availability of information would vary.
Unclaimed money is considered public and can be accessed by every member of the public through official and non-governmental platforms.
In New Jersey, unclaimed money is maintained indefinitely by the state, and interested parties can locate their unclaimed funds using any of the methods discussed above.
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