What Are Unclaimed Assets in Rhode Island? Who Is Owed Money?
The state of Rhode Island has been selling thousands of dollars worth of items on eBay. These items come from safety deposit boxes that have been unclaimed by their owners. Some of the accounts go way back, as early as the 1940’s! For most unclaimed assets in Rhode Island, there is no time limit for owners to make a claim.
However, in regards to jewelry, old baseball cards, and antique treasures kept inside of unclaimed safe deposit box, owners only have so many years to make a claim. Even after the items are sold, however, owners can still request the cash value. If they are deceased, their heirs can make a claim.
Each year, the RI State Treasury publishes the list of all the unclaimed assets from the current year. The Treasury Office also visits state fairs and malls in an attempt to find owners with their lost funds. The state’s website contains the cumulative list, with all accounts form the 1940’s to the present. Nearly 100,000 individuals and businesses are on the list. About one in ten Rhode Islanders is owed some money.
To date, the state has nearly $200 million in unclaimed property. Each year, RI is only able to return some of the money to owners. Sometimes, people forget about their financial assets. Unclaimed property is any asset that is in an inactive account for a number of years, which in Rhode Island, is usually three.
A few examples of unclaimed property include stocks, dividends, bank accounts, refunds, wages, insurance payments, benefit payments, traveler’s checks, safe deposit boxes, utility deposits, certificates of deposit, etc. Utility deposits and wages are considered “unclaimed” after just one year.
The information is public record, so searching for a name is free. People have the choice of searching for their name and claiming their assets themselves, or hiring someone to assist them for a fee. The Unclaimed Property Division in RI can be contacted at anytime. It’s recommended that people search online using variations of their name to see if they can find information about an account.
Some of the money belongs to residents of other states. The money belonging to former residents of Rhode Island isn’t transferred to their current state. Part of the reason why people lose their assets to begin with is because they forget to forward their new address to all the companies and banks they do business with. Thus, anybody who has ever lived in Rhode Island, or has done business with companies in Rhode Island, should search the RI State Treasury’s database for unclaimed property.