How to Prevent Your Account from Becoming Unclaimed Property
We have some tips that can help protect your accounts from becoming unclaimed funds.
No one wants to lose money. But that’s precisely what can happen if you don’t stay in touch with your financial institution. Credit unions are legally required to turn a member’s assets over to the state where they’re marked as “unclaimed property,” if there is no account activity or contact with the member for at least one year.
Common credit union assets that become unclaimed property include:
- Certificates of deposit (CD)
- Contents of a safe deposit box
- Checking and savings account balances
Here are six ways to ensure your assets don’t become unclaimed property.
Keep a list of your financial accounts.
Most unclaimed property consists of assets that owners left behind after a move to another city or state. Some people forget they have cash in a credit union account or investments that mature at a later date. Avoid this misstep by maintaining a list of all your financial accounts. If you keep valuables in a safe deposit box, include it on your list.
When you expect to no longer use the account or storage space, withdraw all funds and contents. Close the account and turn in the key to the box (if applicable). This ensures there aren’t any assets to send to the state.
Update your contact information.
Whenever you change your mailing address, email, or phone number, notify the credit union so they can update their records. This helps ensure you receive all communications and that investments like CDs, which can take several years to mature, find their owner even if you move across the country after opening the account.
If the credit union doesn’t have your current contact information and they haven’t heard from you in over a year, they might assume the account has been abandoned and start the process of declaring it as unclaimed funds. And remember, most financial institutions do not forward mail.
Keep your accounts active.
The best way to protect your credit union account from becoming unclaimed funds is to keep it active. Deposit or withdraw money from the account at least once a year to ensure the credit union doesn’t assume the account has been abandoned. Mark your calendar so you remember to complete a transaction at least annually.
Respond to all communications from the credit union.
It’s essential that you review all communications you receive from the credit union. Letters, emails, and phone messages can pertain to just about anything, from changes in fees or services to issues with your account. Respond to requests in a timely manner. Non-responsiveness could lead the credit union to believe your account is inactive.
Understand account terms and conditions.
Financial institutions’ definitions of “an active account” can vary. Review the terms and conditions of each type of account to ensure you understand when an account will be marked as inactive. Contact your financial institution if you’re still unsure or have questions about when your account will be considered inactive.
Set up automatic payments.
If you have automatic payments set up, it might be easier for the credit union to know that the account is active and being used. However, understanding account terms and conditions is the best way to know whether setting up automatic payments will protect your account from going dormant.
Don’t let your hard-earned money become unclaimed funds. Make sure your account remains active. If you have questions about your Credit Union of Colorado account, contact us at 800-444-4816.
Anyone can perform a free search for unclaimed property by visiting these websites. There’s no need to pay someone to help reclaim missing assets.
You must present proof that you are the rightful owner of the property at the time you make a claim.