Unclaimed Money

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Gray Easterling
Gray Easterling

I read an interesting piece in the online version of Financial Planning magazine noting that $2.5 billion from an estimated 2.5 million claims was returned to rightful owners in 2012. This is money that was lost and now was found, just like the prodigal son. The article listed several ways to find unclaimed funds, which follow. First, look online. The suggested site is www.missingmoney.com, a site endorsed by the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (didn’t know there was an association for this purpose). This site lets you search in many states at once, free of charge. Another site, www.unclaimed.org has links to unclaimed fund programs for each state. If you or your family have lived in several states, search each state. Your funds may have gone missing years ago. Don’t forget to look under maiden names, trusts or any businesses you or your family may have owned.

 

If you locate funds, be sure that the money is yours and not someone with a similar name. If you claim funds that don’t belong to you, you have committed fraud. As you would suspect, documentation for the claim will be required and can vary depending on the amount of money involved and how much information the state already has. Failure to provide proper documentation will delay processing of your claim; no administrator wants to pay out funds to anyone other than the rightful owner. Most of us (or our kids) have some computer skills. Why not take a few minutes and undertake this search for any unclaimed funds that you might be entitled to? You might just be surprised at the results…and just in time for Valentine’s Day.

 

On an unrelated topic, filing early for social security can result in a reduction in the social security benefit when your earnings exceed a certain amount ($15,720 in 2015). However, if you retire and subsequently receive payments from a former employer in the form of severance pay, unused vacation days, accumulated sick leave or commissions, these payments may be considered “special payments” and will not affect social security benefits. Read the section “Special Payments after Retirement” on the Social Security fact sheet. Also, consult with your tax professional to be sure your interpretation is correct. As always, some rules boggle the mind. Commissions paid after retirement on products sold before retiring don’t affect benefits; royalties on a book written before retirement can affect benefits. Weird.

 

In the Episcopal and Catholic traditions, we will start the Lenten season after the festivities of Mardi Gras end. As a child, I did not look forward to the 40 days of Lent. Mom got us up for early church several times a week and breakfast on those days was less filling than normal. Looking back, it must have taken a supreme effort for her to not only get herself ready for church, but motivating four boys to move in the same direction in the early hours was a chore. She did it and I think we are all better because she loved us enough to put us in the pews those weekday mornings. She must have remembered Isaiah’s words in chapter 40: “He gives power to the faint and strengthens the powerless. Even youth will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted; but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”

 

Although this information has been gathered from sources believed to be reliable, it cannot be guaranteed.  This material is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed or acted upon as individualized tax, legal or investment advice.  FSC Securities Corp does not offer tax or legal advice.  Securities, insurance and investment advisory services offered through FSC Securities Corporation, member FINRA/SIPC and a registered investment advisor 3416 North Blvd, Alexandria, LA 71301, (318) 448-3201.  The views expressed are not necessarily the opinion of FSC Securities Corporation.