Avoiding unclaimed property requires preplanning:
- Make a list of all of your family’s assets—bank accounts, certificates of deposit, mortgage escrow accounts, retirement accounts (IRA, Keogh, and 401(k)), layaways, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, life insurance policies, security deposits, and safe deposit boxes.
- If you change your name or address, write to the address associated with each asset to notify it of the change. If you regularly receive insurance benefits or dividends, and the checks stop coming, promptly notify the company about the problem.
- If you cease employment, make sure that you receive all your paychecks and unused paid leave. Even if you have direct deposit, some companies issue a paper check for the final payment.
Before starting a search, you can learn more about unclaimed property.