An unclaimed property is any property that has been left “alone” for an extended period of time. In these cases, the state claims it and retains it until the owner appears.
Only in Washington, more than $21.3 million (in money and assets) were given back during 2017. However, the rest of it is saved in a special account that generates interests, and that money goes to the state’s General Fund.
So, yes, federal governments take advantage of this situation to get a little extra help. But, in this article, we will show you how to check if you have unclaimed properties at your name in Washington.
An unclaimed property can refer to several assets that have had no activity or contact with the owner for an extended period of time.
Types of properties in Washington
While “unclaimed property” can refer to any type of unclaimed asset, funds, or property, these are the types accepted by the state of Washington:
- Bank accounts (checking accounts, savings accounts).
- An inheritance (in money).
- Uncashed checks (from payroll, insurance payments, or travelers checks).
- General refunds.
- Insurance payments or refunds.
- Contents of a safe deposit box.
- Investment funds.
- Utility and phone company deposits.
- Credits (as a customer/patient, or for services).
- Bonds, stocks and investment funds.
This jurisdiction does not include real estate, vehicles, and almost any other physical properties.
➡ READ ALSO: How to get a real estate license in Washington?
How to start a claim
About 50 million US citizens have unclaimed properties (that is 1 of 6 people). The process of getting them back is different depending on every case; sometimes it is difficult, and sometimes it is really simple. Also, you can search for information about yourself, a business, or a deceased person.
However, we still want you to know the steps to check if you have an unclaimed property in the state of Washington.
Check if you have an unclaimed property at your name
Each jurisdiction has a website of unclaimed properties. Either current or former residents can search their names for free.
These are the official links you can use:
- Department of Revenue from Washington State: http://ucp.dor.wa.gov.
- Office of the Chief Financial Officer’s Unclaimed Property (if you live in Washington DC): https://dc.findyourunclaimedproperty.com.
- National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (nationwide): https://unclaimed.org.
You will have to provide your full name, address, ZIP code, and some other details about your identity.
File your claim
If your search is positive and you have an unclaimed property, the same website will give you instructions.
However, if you used the link from the Department of Revenue, you will be able to file a claim in the following ways:
- Online: In this case, once you find the property, click “Pursue Claim” and follow the instructions. When providing the proofs, scan the documents and upload them, but make sure the file types end in: .jpg, .xls, .doc, .tif, .pdf, .txt, or .png.
- Mail: Follow the same steps from the online claim, but click “mail” in the “Provide Proof” page, and then print the voucher (it will indicate the documents you need); collect them, make copies, write the claim number on each page, and send them to this address:
Department of Revenue
Unclaimed Property Section
PO Box 47477
Olympia, WA 98504-7477
Note: the is not a time limit to file a claim. Also, if you have further questions about this process, we recommend you to contact the Department of Revenue at 1-800-435-2429 or (360) 534-1502; from Monday through Friday, between 8 am and 5 pm.
Wait for the answer
Once you finish the process, you will receive an email or mail notification with further information. The waiting period is approximately 60 days upon the receipt; if the claim is for shares of stock or mutual funds, it may take around 90 days.
Who can file a claim?
This process may be initiated by someone who has a legal or equitable interest in the property (by presenting actual evidence), or by that person’s legal representative.
The term “owner” can include a depositor, beneficiary, creditor, or simple a claimant.
Why are there unclaimed properties?
There are many reasons why unclaimed properties or money exist; some of the most common are:
- There has been a not-reported change of residence or a relocation of the business.
- Someone receives a check but accidentally discards it, loses it, destroys it, or forgets it.
- An owner dies without a will or without leaving information about the assets.
- Parents who open accounts in the name of their minor children, but forget them when they grow up.
- A customer overpays in an account or sends remittances without indicating to which account the payment should be applied.
- A clerical error alters the address or name of a beneficiary, causing the mail to be returned as undeliverable.
Co-founder of AllAboutCareers, one of the top sites for graduates, students and school leavers websites. I studied at the University of Essex. This is my site I talk about finance and help with administrative processes in the USA.