May 30, 2024

Unclaimed Property Washington

What is Unclaimed Property?

Unclaimed property refers to any financial asset that has been abandoned by its rightful owner. These assets can be in the form of bank accounts, stocks, bonds, insurance policies, and even tangible items like jewelry or collectibles. When the owner fails to claim or contact the institution holding the asset for a certain period, it is considered unclaimed property.

Why Does Unclaimed Property Exist?

Unclaimed property exists for various reasons. Sometimes, people simply forget about their assets due to a change in address or a life event that distracts them. Other times, individuals may be unaware that they are entitled to certain assets, especially if they are beneficiaries of a deceased relative.

How Does Unclaimed Property Work in Washington?

In Washington, unclaimed property is managed by the State Department of Revenue’s Unclaimed Property Section. Their primary goal is to reunite owners with their lost assets and ensure that the property is protected until it can be returned.

Searching for Unclaimed Property

If you suspect that you might have unclaimed property in Washington, you can start by visiting the official website of the Unclaimed Property Section. There, you can search their database using your name or the name of a deceased relative. If there is a match, you can initiate the claims process.

The Claims Process

If you find unclaimed property in your name, you will need to provide proof of ownership and complete the necessary forms. The Unclaimed Property Section will review your claim and, if approved, arrange for the transfer of the assets to you.

What Happens to Unclaimed Property If Not Claimed?

If unclaimed property in Washington remains unclaimed for a certain period, usually three years, it is considered abandoned. At this point, the Unclaimed Property Section takes custody of the assets and holds them until the rightful owner claims them.

Public Auctions

Occasionally, the Unclaimed Property Section may hold public auctions to sell the unclaimed property. The proceeds from these auctions are held for the owner, should they come forward in the future.

Preventing Unclaimed Property

To prevent your assets from becoming unclaimed property, it is important to keep your contact information up to date with financial institutions, insurance companies, and other entities that may hold your assets. Regularly reviewing your accounts and ensuring that your beneficiaries are aware of their entitlements can also help prevent assets from being abandoned.

Stay Informed

It is also advisable to stay informed about any changes in state laws regarding unclaimed property. This information can help you stay proactive in protecting your assets and ensuring that they remain rightfully yours.