Learn Why the State of Illinois Has Almost $1.5 Billion in Unclaimed Property to Date

To date, the state of Illinois holds unclaimed property belonging to over 10 million individuals and businesses! The estimated total amount is $1.4 billion. Could you be one of the many residents who are owed money? The population of Illinois is 13 million – you do the math! Of course, a large portion of the unclaimed properties belongs to businesses, but the fact that many everyday residents are owed money as well makes this worth checking into.

Why would anybody in his or her right mind leave money or property “unclaimed”? There could be a number of reasons. Sometimes businesses lose track of former employees and are unable to send them their last check. People do get caught up with everyday affairs sometimes and forget that they’re owed a few hundred or even a few thousand dollars! Sometimes people invest and are unaware that they have made profits.

Some examples of unclaimed properties are:

  • Stocks, bonds, and mutual funds
  • Uncashed / undelivered payroll checks
  • Uncashed traveler’s checks
  • Inheritance
  • Uncashed rebate check
  • Trust funds
  • Escrow accounts / funds
  • Safe deposit boxes

According to the Unclaimed Property Division, the reason why so many Illinoisans are owed money is due to the demutualization of some large life insurance companies, such as Metlife and Prudential. Around 60-70 years ago, many moderate-income citizens bought cheap life insurance policies from door-to-door sales representatives, not realizing at the time that they were becoming shareholders of the company. Now, all these years later, all of these people (or their heirs) can claim the residual value.

Each state has its own rules regarding what unclaimed property is and how it can be claimed. They also vary in how they reunite property with its rightful owners. The Illinois Treasurer’s office publishes the names of all owners online. The state also tries to reach owners through community events. Illinois Cash Dash events are held regularly to reunite businesses and citizens with their property.

Since 1999, the state of IL has paid out around $400 million of unclaimed funds to owners, most of whom were from Chicago and surrounding areas. All you have to do is search for your name (and variations of it) online. If you want to know if you have any inheritance money, you could also search for the name of any relatives you have had in IL. If you find out that Illinois owes you money, you can print out a claim form and send it to the state’s Unclaimed Property Division. Be sure to include all the documentation it asks for.

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