What is Unclaimed Money in Alabama?
Alabama unclaimed money refers to unclaimed funds or other assets in possession of financial institutions that have not been collected by their rightful owners over a particular time frame (dormancy period). These financial institutions include government offices and businesses. In Alabama, some examples of unclaimed money can include money orders, safe deposit box contents, cash, unpaid wages, uncashed checks, and bank account balances. Each year, unclaimed money and assets in Alabama are handed over by financial institutions to the state treasury. This process is known as escheatment.
Alabama Unclaimed Property Law outlines the provisions for handling unclaimed money and specifies the duration after which an unclaimed asset is considered abandoned. For example, traveler checks are considered abandoned 15 years after their issuance while money orders take five (5) years. Alabama State Treasury is the state’s acting custodian for unclaimed assets. The state treasury ensures that unclaimed assets are returned to their rightful owners. The state treasury may auction out unclaimed contents of a safety security box to the general public. Money retrieved from this type sale are held indefinitely by the state treasury until the owner of the safety security box is located.
How to Find Unclaimed Money in Alabama
In Alabama, the Unclaimed Property Division, a department of the state treasury, oversees and manages unclaimed money and unclaimed properties in the state. To ensure public access to unclaimed assets the Unclaimed Property Division maintains a searchable database made up of a government list of unclaimed money. To find unclaimed money in Alabama, inquirers may perform a search through the database. Certain information about the unclaimed money would need to be provided to narrow down the search result. This information includes the name or business name attached to the unclaimed money, city, zip code, and property ID.
Unclaimed money being auctioned out by the state Unclaimed Property Division may be found through the auction site used by the state treasury. Inquiries may also be mailed or made in person at:
Office of State Treasurer,
Unclaimed Property Division,
P.O. Box 302520, Montgomery,
It is worth noting that, aside from searchable databases maintained by government agencies, other third-party search engines may also be used to find unclaimed money in Alabama.
How Do I Find Alabama Unclaimed Money for Free?
Apart from the Alabama Unclaimed Property Division database which is free to use by the general public, other federal agencies may also indefinitely hold unclaimed assets. However, these federal agencies do not have a centralized database where all unclaimed assets are kept and recorded. As such, each agency maintains its databases and other related services that may be freely used by the public to search for unclaimed money. To make inquiries through these agencies or their databases, inquirers would need to ascertain the type of unclaimed money (such as uncashed savings bond or bankruptcy funds), the date the unclaimed money was dispensed, and the means through which the unclaimed money would have been paid.
Inquiries on unclaimed money may also be obtained from appropriate federal agencies. Some of these types of unclaimed money and their respective federal agencies include and are not limited to:
- Unclaimed U.S securities and payments: Using Treasury Direct, an inquirer may find uncashed savings bonds. Treasury Direct is a free online search engine maintained by the Bureau of the Fiscal Services under the U.S Department of Treasury. The types of uncashed saving bonds found on treasury direct are those typically over 30 years old which have stopped acquiring interest. Other types of securities and payments that may be found using Treasury Direct include treasury notes, series HH saving bonds, and missing series H payments. To begin a search using Treasury Direct, an inquirer would need to provide their SSN or EIN and current state of residence.
- Unclaimed bankruptcy funds: The U.S bankruptcy unclaimed funds locator, as the name implies may be used to find unclaimed funds held by federal courts. There are a variety of reasons why bankruptcy funds may remain unclaimed such as recipients proving incorrect addresses, a recipient death, and uncashed distribution checks. To find an unclaimed bankruptcy fund using the U.S bankruptcy unclaimed funds locator, an inquirer would need to provide certain information about the bankruptcy funds. This information includes the name of the bankruptcy court (such as Alabama northern or Alabama southern bankruptcy), the creditor's name, the debtor's name, the case number, the bankruptcy fund amount, and the date the bankruptcy judgment was entered. Each of these pieces of information may be used individually or as a combination to find an unclaimed bankruptcy fund. Alternatively, the federal court finder may be used to find the contact information of Alabama bankruptcy courts to make in-person inquiries about bankruptcy funds in currently their possession.
- Unclaimed credit union deposits: The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Asset Management and Assistance Center superintends the payments of liquidated federal insured credit union shared accounts to their members. A liquidated credit union deposit may remain unclaimed due to several reasons such as checks not being cashed or incorrect addresses provided by the union members. After the expiration of a share account insurance (which typically takes 18 months), if it remains unclaimed it would be considered uninsured and made to take on the loss of the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund.
In other cases, a credit union liquidation may result in surplus funds that may be required to be distributed amongst its shareholders. This distribution may take several years after a credit union liquidation. As a result, finding the credit union shareholders may prove difficult leading to the NCUA retention of said surplus funds.
Generally, The NCUA unclaimed deposit listing may be used freely to review unclaimed deposits currently held by the NCUA. Furthermore, when an inquirer finds their name or their benefactor’s name in the listing, they would need to download and complete a member verification form. After appropriately filing the form, they may send it to the NCUA Asset Management and Assistance Center to lay a claim to the unclaimed money.
How to Claim Unclaimed Money in Alabama
In Alabama, unclaimed money or assets may be claimed by submitting a claim by mail or in person. Note however that the first step to claim unclaimed money (searching for the unclaimed money) is made online. Regardless of the way a claimant chooses to submit their claim (by mail or in-person), the prior steps are relatively similar. Generally, there are mainly four steps involved in making a claim:
- Search for Unclaimed Money: To begin a search, a claimant would need to visit the state’s Unclaimed Property Division search page (link above). On the search page, there are four (4) input fields namely; name or business name, city, zip code, and property ID. The claimant would need to fill out at least one(1) of these fields (mainly "name and business name") and click on the search button to initiate a search. Other input fields may also be filled out to narrow search results. The search result page would contain a list of unclaimed property related to the information provided by the claimant. On the search result page, the claimant would need to select the unclaimed asset(s) they want to claim by clicking on the "claim button" on each relevant search result. Next, the claimant would need to click on the "continue to file claim" button.
- Claim Initiation Process: Once a claimant has selected and reviewed the asset(s) they want to claim, they would need to confirm their ownership or relationship with the asset(s) owner. There are primary four (4) options for this namely; owner, heir, estate representative, and business representative. After which the claimant may then click on the "file claim button". Next, claimants would be led to a primary information page where they would enter their current contact information. This information includes the claim type (either individual or business), the claimant's full name (first, last, and middle name respectively), email address, date of birth, phone number, social security number (SSN)/tax ID, country, state, city, zip code, and address. After filling out all required information, the claimant can then click the "next" button located towards your end of the web page to move to the preview page. An address confirmation prompt may pop up to ensure the address provided by the claimant is correct. After confirming their address, the claimant may click the "next" button. Doing this would lead the claimant to a preview page containing all the assets they selected. After verifying that all information provided is correct, a claimant would need to agree to the terms by checking the respective checkbox and clicking on the submit button to officially make their claim and generate a claim number.
- Submit a Claim: After a claim request has been submitted, an email would be sent to the address the claimant provided on their claim form. The email would contain the claim form attachment and a list of required documentation. These required documentations must be submitted along with the claim form for a claim to be valid. Generally, these required documentations include a completed and signed claim form, a copy of the claimant's photo identification, and their SSN. Claimants must review the email sent to them to identify the required items. After reviewing and gathering all the required documentation, the claimant can then submit their claim with other required documentation to the Unclaimed Property Division by mail or in person at:
RSA Union Building
100 North Union Street, Suite 636
Montgomery, AL 36104
- Tracking a Claim Process: Using a claim number, a claimant can track the progress of their claim via the Unclaimed Property Division’s statue page. A claim's number can be found on the claim form or in the email sent to the claimant.
How Long Does It Take to Get Unclaimed Money in Alabama?
On average, it takes (6) six to eight(8) weeks for a claim to be processed by the Unclaimed Property Division. Regardless of the method (in-person or mail) used to submit a claim the aforementioned time frame stands. Furthermore, using their claim number claimants can track and review their claim progress using the “statue page” (link above) maintained by the State Treasury Unclaimed Property Division.
Who Can Claim Unclaimed Money From Deceased Relatives in Alabama?.
Provided the surviving relative of the deceased (unclaimed money owner) has been named as the executor or administrator of the deceased estate by a probate court they can file a claim on the deceased behalf. Meanwhile, even without a will, or being named as the executor or administrator, the surviving spouse or children of the deceased may be able to file a claim on the deceased behalf. Further inquiries on documentation one may need to verify their relationship with the deceased can be made by contacting the Unclaimed Property Division at (888) 844-8400.
What Happens to Alabama Unclaimed Money if No One Claims It?
In Alabama, there is no defined duration in which the state holds unclaimed money. As such, the state may hold unclaimed money indefinitely However, considerable efforts are made to uncover their rightful owner, court-named executor, or an administrator.