Welcome to AbandonedAssets.org.

We’ve been watching the Unclaimed Property Situation for 30 years and are still amazed at how much property goes unclaimed. There are several players in the world of unclaimed funds and abandoned assets.

Holders come in two types:

  • Private Holders – includes insurance companies, banks, and the like who are in possession of unclaimed funds
  • Government Holders – Government entities who created rules and regulations to get Private Holders to turn over funds for government safekeeping and for government (society’s) benefit

Claimants come in several types:

  • Original Claimants who may have lost track of assets
  • Company or Corporate Claimants
  • Individual Claimants
  • Heirs of Claimants

Researchers, Investigators, Finders, or Heir Tracers come in several types:

  • Individuals, Attorneys, or Private Investigators who find assets and then seek out claimants for a fee
  • Websites like this one who publish public lists and provide search capabilities for claimants or their heirs
  • Scammers – They are definitely out there. The most common attribute of scammers is that they ask for money from claimants before producing funds.

Private Holders in the past, generally did very little to find claimants or heirs unless they were compelled to do so by government regulations or penalties. The reasons that they did little to unite claimants are obvious. Unclaimed funds can add up quickly, they earn interest, and, without the government compelling them to do so, there is very little benefit to finding the owners of unclaimed funds. There were many benefits associated with keeping this money in their accounts. For the most part, that is changed today. Private Holders are compelled to either reunite abandoned assets with their owners or to turn that money over to the government. To be fair, there are some Private Holders that make reasonable efforts today to find proper claimants. Many of them work with Researchers like us to find them.

Government Holders vary widely as to their policies, rules, and regulations. Nearly all of them state their intention to unite or to reunite claimants with their funds. But transparency and efforts to unite claimants with their funds vary greatly. Some government jurisdictions are completely transparent about unclaimed funds held. They provide full search capabilities for the public and even do publicity, events, and outreach around their efforts to reunite claimants or their heirs.

Others state that uniting claimants and funds is their goal but are highly opaque, providing limited access to records and difficult rules associated with search, along with high qualifications for Researchers, Investigators and Finders. Rules for Researchers sometimes include professional qualifications, such as being an attorney or licensed private investigator. This creates an unusual burden for private Researchers and Finders who could be helpful in reuniting claimants and funds.

Some jurisdictions limit the fees that Researchers and Finders can charge. This may be justified because it’s not uncommon for heirs to accept fees as high as 50% on funds that they would otherwise never know about. Some jurisdictions have limits on fees of around 10%. In situations where fees are highly restricted, Researchers and Finders can have a difficult time making a profit. Finding missing claimants and heirs can be a long process. It is tedious, time consuming, and difficult work. Our view is that a happy medium exists depending on the size and nature of a case, who is holding funds, and the difficulties associated with the search and claims processes.

One thing that every business can count on is that governments have clear rules for holders. They are super diligent about making rules that holders must turn over unclaimed or abandoned assets each year. The definition of unclaimed funds can vary depending on the jurisdiction. Most often an account is deemed unclaimed after an owner is absent for somewhere between three and seven years; in some cases, it is as little as one year. One thing for sure, governments want to be the ones holding that money or those assets.

Overall, the situation that exists today is one where two-thirds of unclaimed funds remain unclaimed. No one knows the exact amounts, but best estimates put the amount of unclaimed funds today in the billions of dollars across the United States and around the world.

We are a business. Obviously, we want to make a profit. But beyond that, we consider it our highest intention to assist government entities in their stated goal of uniting or reuniting claimants with their funds, and; to help the highest number of claimants with funds due, to know about them; with reasonable fees; agreed to up-front; and no fees charged to claimants before a claim is paid. Please contact us here if you have any questions.