Unclaimed Money in Virginia
Unclaimed money refers to tangible and intangible valuables that the rightful owner abandoned or neglected for a length of time (per the Virginia Disposition of Unclaimed Property Act). Generally, these include account balances, uncashed checks, bonds, refunds, dividends, and public benefits. Still, unclaimed money can also include unclaimed security deposits, utility deposits, and even unpaid wages.
Virginia state laws require private and public entities serving as custodians for funds and valuables to turn over unclaimed money and abandoned property after five years of inactivity. The Virginia Treasury Unclaimed Property Division takes over custody of these unclaimed funds and adds the escheated funds to the government list of unclaimed money. Interested persons can search this list and claim unclaimed money in Virginia.
How to Find Unclaimed Money in Virginia
The three-step process for finding unclaimed money in Virginia requires the finder to:
- Visit the Virginia unclaimed money database
- Enter the property owner’s full name into the database
- Click “Go!”
From here, the system will attempt to narrow down the unclaimed money results. First, the searcher may provide the last seven digits of the owner’s social security number (SSN). However, providing an SSN is optional.
Upon clicking “Search,” the system will show a list of known states where the unclaimed money owner has lived. Select the relevant states, and the system will show a list of cities where the individual has unclaimed money. Next, the system asks the searcher to select matching street addresses, business relationships, and co-owners.
A typical search result on the Virginia unclaimed money database will show the type of unclaimed money (for example, cash, refund, deposit, or dividends). The information provided also included the amount and the entity that reported the unclaimed funds.
How Do I Find Unclaimed Money for Free
The Virginia unclaimed money database lets interested persons find unclaimed money for free. However, it is common for Virginia residents to have unclaimed money in other states, federal agencies, and even foreign countries. These entities maintain resources that interested persons can use to find unclaimed money for free, including the federal tax refund finder, the unclaimed bankruptcy funds locator, and the HUD refunds finder.
How to Claim Unclaimed Money in Virginia
There are two ways to claim unclaimed money in Virginia: online and via mail or fax.
Claim Unclaimed Money Online
Claiming unclaimed money in Virginia online involves four steps. The intending claimant must:
- Create an online account with the Unclaimed Property Division.
- Search for the unclaimed money using the owner’s name.
- Complete and submit the online claim form.
- Upload support documentation, including a photo ID, vital records, and documents that prove ownership.
The Unclaimed Property Division requires individuals claiming unclaimed money to create an account on the database. The Division uses the personal information, social security number, and contact details provided at this stage to review claims and contact the claimant. Creating an account also helps the claimant to monitor the claim status.
All claimants must upload supporting documentation before the Division reviews a claim. The documents required depend on the type of claimant (rightful owner, immediate family member, authorized representative, or business). Generally, owners of unclaimed money must upload a scanned government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license, state ID, birth certificate, or international passport. Also, the individual must submit a document proving ownership, e.g., receipts, pay stubs, invoices, and letters.
Likewise, immediate family members must provide the aforementioned documents and vital records associating them with the unclaimed money owner. For example, parents may submit a birth certificate, spouses may submit a marriage record, and ex-spouses may submit a divorce decree. In addition, these individuals must provide a certified death certificate if the owner is deceased.
Meanwhile, authorized third-party representatives must also submit a government-issued photo ID, along with certified copies of documents authorizing them to act on the owner’s behalf. Such authorizing documents include court orders for estate administrators, wills for estate executors, and power of attorney.
Claim Unclaimed Money Via Mail or Fax
Here, the claimant prints a claim form from the online account. Alternatively, contact the Unclaimed Property Division and request that the agency mail or fax the claim form. Next, the claimant must complete the form, attach the necessary documents, and notarize the application packet.
Then, the claimant may mail the application packet to the Unclaimed Property Division for processing. The Division also allows claimants to fax the notarized application packet for claims less than $200.
How Long Does It Take to Get Unclaimed Money in Virginia
Six (6) to eight (8) weeks, but it depends. The application to payment time for online claims is faster than mail-in claims. Also, the processing time depends on factors like the type of unclaimed money, the completeness of the application, and administrative workload. Claimants may check their claim status online or contact a Claim Representative at the Virginia Unclaimed Property Division for inquiries.
Who Can Claim Unclaimed Money From Deceased Relatives
Heirs, immediate family members, and authorized representatives may claim unclaimed property for deceased persons in Virginia. However, these persons must have the necessary documents establishing a relationship with the deceased relative. These include vital records and legal documents.
What Happens to Unclaimed Money in Virginia if No One Claims It?
Unclaimed money escheated to the Virginia Treasury remains claimable for life. However, per Va. Code. § 55.1-2529, tangible, abandoned property is auctioned at public events and the money is deposited in the Literary Fund of the Commonwealth of Virginia. The sum, along with compounded interests, still remains claimable by the rightful owner and eligible individuals.
Can Someone in Virginia Claim Unclaimed Money From Another State?
Yes. Individuals who have lived in other states can find and claim unclaimed money from other states. The claim process differs from state to state. So, interested persons may visit the custodian agency’s website for information on claiming unclaimed money in that state.