You may have money sitting in an inactive bank account, or a paycheck that you never picked up. You may also have inheritance, tax refunds or other money that is owed to you that you do not realize that it is out there. There are several resources available to help you look for any unclaimed money that belongs to you.
You should check each of these resources every few years to be sure that you have not lost track of some of the money that belongs to you.
If you visit MoneySmart, you can do a basic search for money that is owed to you. According to the site, there is around $1 billion owed to the citizens of Australia. This site is set up to help you find funds that may have gone missing.
Once you realize that you have money, you will need to find the correct way to claim it. This depends on where the money is.
If there is no activity in a bank account for three years and the balance is more than $500.00, the ASIC will hold the money in the account. In order to find the money that a bank owes you, you can find the money at the MoneySmart site.
You will receive an original transaction number (OTC). This number will allow the bank to track the transaction. You will need to contact the bank to request that the funds to be sent to you. If the bank is closed and is no longer operating, you will need to contact the bank that took over the account.
Once you contact the bank you will need to provide proof of your identity and other information to prove that the money in the account belongs to you.
Life Insurance Money
The process of claiming life insurance money is very similar to that of claiming money from the bank. Once you find the money you will need to have your OTC number, and then contact the company that holds the policy.
You will also need to be able to provide documents to show the proof of your identity and claim. When you contact the company ask to speak to the person in charge of unclaimed funds.
If you have unclaimed shares in a company, the process is a bit more difficult. You will need the copies of the certificates in addition to your identification and OTC number. You will also need to fill out the claim form and sent to the Australian Securities and Exchange Commission if the company is no longer registered.
If the company is still functioning, you can contact the company directly to claim the money.
Money Held by State Governments
The state governments also have lost funds. This money may include estates, salaries and other wages and trusts. They may also have trust money that has not been claimed.
You will need to contact the state government to see if you qualify for any of the unclaimed money in any of states. The states will handle the process differently, but it is a fairly straightforward process. You will need to have basic identification as well as proof that you are the person that can claim the money.
Depending on the situation it may be more complicated than just showing your identification.
Finding Lost Superannuation Funds
When you change employers, you may lose track of a super fund that was set up in your name. This can be more common for jobs that you worked when you were younger or in school.
If you move around a lot or changes jobs often, you may also have missing super fund. You will need to search for a missing fund through the Australian Taxation Office. You will need to register for SuperSeeker. This program gives you allows you to check all of the funds in your Super accounts. You can also do a search to find any missing or lost accounts.
All you need to complete the search is your tax identification number, your name and your birth date. If you find a super that is in your name, it is simply a matter of filling out the correct form so that you can track the account with your other super funds.
If your employer cannot find the account that you want them to contribute to or the government cannot find the account, then the ATO will hold the super funds for you. A search will show those funds as well. Once you find these funds, you can have them transferred to your super account.
It may be easier to combine the accounts so that you do not lose track of them again.
The Fair Work Ombudsman works to resolve disputes and investigates unpaid wages. If you think you may have had unpaid wages in the past, you can go to their site to complete a search for any back wages that are owed to you.
It is a fairly straightforward process. All you need is your name, and the business’s name or Australian Business Number (ABN). If you have wages that show up, you will need to provide proof identification and fill out the form to claim your wages.
Paying for an Unclaimed Money Search
Some companies may contact you and offer to do an unclaimed money search for you and charge you a fee to complete it. The ASIC will never charge you a fee to complete the search, and you should not have to pay the fees at the state government’s offices either.
If you think that you may have unclaimed money, simply contact one of the agencies and begin your search. It is a simple process to start.
Steps to Avoid Having Unclaimed Money
It can be frustrating to realize that you lost money through a variety of circumstances.
People who move a lot or often change jobs are more likely to lose money. There are a few things you can do to better keep track of your money. You should keep a list of all of the banks that you have accounts with and change your address with them each time you move. This includes contacting the group overseeing your super accounts each time you move.
You also need to keep your bank accounts active so that they do not get report to unclaimed funds.
Make a small deposit to each account every year, and you will no longer need to worry about the account becoming unclaimed. You can also establish a forwarding address when you move so that your mail is forward to you for a short period of time.
Some of the things may be out of your control such as receive inheritance from estates when you have lost contact with a relative or losing money from a property sale. You can check the state websites for these occasionally in order to find out whether or not you have unclaimed funds.
Another option is to consolidate your accounts so that they are easier to track and monitor. This is especially true of superannuation fund accounts. It is a simple process to transfer the money from one fund to another, and it is much easier to track one or two accounts rather than five or six.
You can do the same thing with the smaller bank accounts that you have. It will be easier to change your address if you are only dealing with one or two banks instead of several different financial institutions.