19 May 2006

Old Business, Part II

Good Morning America** has been airing a series this month entitled "$100 a Day in May." You can see all of the video clips from that link. I have watched a few of them so far, and there have been some pretty good tips, but I don't know if any of these (even combined) are going to net anyone I know $3,100 ($100/day in May?).

As I view episodes that are worthy of comment, I will post on them....and I guess there is no better place to start than with the first installment. The idea is simple enough -- the government is holding your long lost and forgotten dough and all you need to do to claim it is step up and show your hand. I don't think that there's anything more simple than this kind of free money -- heck, it was already yours (at one time).

The story claims that (a) one in eight people have money held by their home State Treasury; and (b) the average claim amount that one is owed is over $900.

I have seen this type of story before on the news -- it seems like it is something that usually airs during sweeps month (hark, it's May!). They run the names of those with money to be claimed once a year in the local paper. It really does seem like the government and the media are doing their part to make you aware of this missing/found (guess it depends on how you look at it) money. Still, I have never bothered to check to see if I have any of this outstanding money. I guess I figured I was pretty on top of my finances and there would be no way that I could be missing money somewhere. There have been some times in my past when a "found" +/-$900 would have come quite in handy, and still I never checked.

Now, though, there is no reason for anyone not to check. All you need to do is consult with your home state's unclaimed property office, which is usually the State Treasurer. Still not sure if it is easy? How about a comprehensive web site that lays out each state's web site and physical address? Realistically, you are about four or five clicks away from finding out if you have any unclaimed property being held for you.

Why am I giving a hard sell on this? Well, guess who found some unclaimed property? It wasn't mine -- I already told you that I know my finances well enough to know that there are no outstanding pots of gold. My deceased father, however, has some unclaimed property in New York. I am not sure if I have access to all of the information I will need to claim it -- I know that I need a death certificate, which I do not have, and proof that he lived at the address attached to the claim, which I also do not have. I am pretty sure that I can get a copy of the death certificate from the State, but I don't know how I would prove that he lived at the address listed (which is the apartment in which we lived before we moved out to Long Island). I will admit -- I am pretty curious. I know that it could be 10 bucks -- but, I suppose it could be a few hundred, no?

I figure that the curiosity will kill me if I don't pursue this, so I may throw a few flares up and see what I can find. If there is anything worth posting, I will let you know. If it is a long lost lottery ticket, the name and focus of this blog will change drastically! My first new post will be titled "The Following People Can Kiss My Ruby Royal Red Keester..."

**Hat tip to Boston Gal's Open Wallet, an excellent daily read

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