How to Make Sure Your Assets Don’t Go Unclaimed
Over the course of a lifetime, many people accumulate assets that their loved ones might not know about, including banks accounts, retirement funds, insurance claims and Treasury bonds.
No government agency tracks the value of all unclaimed assets throughout the country, but independent estimates say the number might run as high as $80 billion.
Here are several tips, drawn from advice provided by state agencies, to prevent your assets from becoming unclaimed property.
Talk with your loved ones about your assets. Discuss more than insurance; include information about bank accounts, which may show regular transfers for insurance premiums, and tax returns.
Keep accurate records, including account numbers, user names, passwords, insurance policies and safe deposit boxes (with the bank’s address, your box number and a copy of the key).
List every asset in your estate and store the latest account statements, insurance policies, wills, trusts and other important papers in a fire-resistant box in a place known to the family.
Always open mail from financial institutions and respond to stockholder proxies and queries about account balances to make sure your account does not close for a lack of activity.
Make at least one manual transaction at each financial account every year to demonstrate that you have not abandoned it.
Cash or deposit checks quickly; they can expire even without an explicit expiration date.
When you move, promptly inform banks, brokerages, retirement savings institutions and businesses that issue interest or dividend checks.
If you change jobs, make sure your old employer has your correct home address in case it needs to send payroll or reimbursement checks.
Update your beneficiary information for insurance policies and retirement savings.
Prepare and file a will detailing how you want to dispose of your assets.
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