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State governments in the U.S. have between $35 and $400 billion dollars of unclaimed assets sitting in state funds awaiting retrieval.  A non-profit organization called the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (“NAUPA”) has members from every state in the U.S. helping oversee unclaimed property. The databases that house the unclaimed property records are maintained by each individual state, not by NAUPA.  Most state databases are free to search.

Unclaimed property is defined as “accounts in financial institutions and companies, that have had no activity generated or contact with the owner for one year or longer” (The time period is set by each state).  There is currently no statute of limitations on unclaimed property.

 There are many different reasons why property is turned over to the state and becomes unclaimed.  A few of the most common are:

  • you move without notifying every business contact (i.e. utility company);
  • you forget about accounts you may still have open;
  • you may have checks that were lost in the mail or put in a drawer and forgotten about;
  • you leave a job and don’t collect your final paycheck
  • a loved one passes away and there is no process for contacting heirs.


If you believe you may have unclaimed property, you can visit NAUPA’s site www.unclaimed.org or the national database www.missingmoney.com, which will link you to the individual state’s unclaimed property database.  If you search Georgia, you can go directly to the Georgia Department of Revenue’s site www.etax.dor.ga.gov. Type in your name – the name you had when you lived in that state.  If you find your name you can initiate a claim on the website.  You should allow at least 120 days for the initial inquiry to be processed.  If the state believes the property could be yours, it will send you another form and request documentation to establish ownership/identity as the rightful owner.

Legitimate proof of your right to unclaimed property includes proof of address and proof of name at the time the property was originally left unclaimed.  If you are claiming property from someone who is deceased, you will need to provide documentation that shows your relationship and right to claim.

A huge unclaimed account exists in New York.  Last year, a Holocaust survivor died at age 97 with no Will and no heirs to his estate.  He died leaving an estate worth an estimated $40 million.  If no heirs are found, his estate will go to the state of New York.  This is yet one more reason why everyone needs a Will and should advise their loved ones as to the location of important papers.

If you would like more information or need assistance in searching and possibly claiming your property, please contact us at 404-255-7400 or send us an email.

In accordance with IRS Circular 230, this article is not to be considered a “covered opinion” or other written tax advice and should not be relied upon for IRS audit, tax dispute, or any other purpose. The information contained herein is provided “as is” for general guidance on matters of interest only. Hoffman & Associates, Attorneys-at-Law, LLC is not herein engaged in rendering legal, accounting, tax, or other professional advice and services. Before making any decision or taking any action, you should consult a competent professional advisor.