Lost and Found

In the course of our hectic lives, it’s not all that unusual for people to lose track of some things. Sometimes it’s their car keys, other times important dates, and still other times it can be an old stock position or small bank account.

Fortunately for us, our kind state of Pennsylvania has a system to keep track of any wayward assets that may have gotten buried in the file cabinet. Those unattended accounts can fall into the jurisdiction of Unclaimed Property laws.

In PA, for an account to become unclaimed property two things need to happen. First, the financial institution or holder of the account has to have “lost contact” with the owner. This can happen by getting two pieces of returned mail or undeliverable e-mails.  After that occurs, a 3-year timer starts. If there is still no activity or recorded contact, the asset would then be handed over to unclaimed property.

One interesting fact, however, is that once a holder has lost contact with the property owner, there may very likely be dormancy fees assessed on the account by the holder, and when the property gets to unclaimed property, the Finder’s fee in PA is capped at 15% which is pretty hefty.

Obviously, this is a situation most people want to avoid, and there are easy steps to take to do just that. You can consolidate small fringe accounts or accounts you don’t use often into ones that you use regularly. You can also run an occasional check to see if you forgot anything that could be sitting with the state. PA has an easy-to-use search feature to check on this https://unclaimedproperty.patreasury.gov/en/Property/SearchIndex.


If you do have something go to unclaimed property, you can claim it back, but it’s always nice to stay on top of things and save yourself the hassle and chunk of money as well.