Unclaimed property (also known as abandoned property) refers to accounts that companies are holding that don’t belong to them but rather to individuals or other companies with whom they’ve lost contact. Often individuals aren’t aware that companies have unclaimed property belonging to them. Examples of unclaimed property include savings accounts, stocks, uncashed checks, refunds, traveler’s checks, trust distributions, insurance proceeds, certificates of deposit, security deposits, and royalty payments.
In the US, companies are required to remit unclaimed property to the state of the last known address of the account owner if they aren’t able to return the property to the actual owner. In their custodial capacity, states are required to hold unclaimed property for its citizens indefinitely so that they can claim the full amount due to them at any time. Until they are claimed, some state unclaimed property funds can be used for the benefit of all state citizens, in some cases making public improvements and reducing student loans.