I-Team: What happens to unclaimed money in Massachusetts?

I-Team

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Millions of people in Massachusetts have unclaimed funds sitting in the state’s bank, the Unclaimed Property Division.

This includes bank accounts, mutual funds, and uncashed checks. Local cities and towns also have plenty of unclaimed money.

“A large city like us we always have uncashed checks,” said Marie LaFlamme, treasurer in Chicopee. “It’s why we do the process once a year.”

LaFlamme told the I-Team, they mail letters home to residents that have uncashed checks. They give them two weeks to respond.

“Those that we don’t get a hold of we put it in surplus money,” said LaFlamme. “If they come back in two years and prove that it’s theirs then we will do it.”

Whether its uncashed checks or other funds, your money could be in the state’s possession. You can find out on FINDMASSMoney.com, the state’s unclaimed property division website. You’ll just need to prove that you are the property’s rightful owner. The State’s Unclaimed Property Division said they have unclaimed funds for many Chicopee and Springfield residents. But they make up just a small portion of their database.

“I have a little over 14 million active accounts in the unclaimed property database that are available to claim, said Mark Bracken, Assistant Treasurer of the Unclaimed Property Division.

Bracken told the I-Team they have abandoned funds that date back to the 1970s. Life insurance policies, savings accounts, and stocks carry the most value.

“Thirteen million dollars of stock has been sitting here for years,” said Bracken. “We know where they live, we’ve spoken with them multiple times, and we just can’t get them to fill out the claim form.”

Bracken said they mail letters to everyone in their database, and stepped up their outreach on social media. There is no time limit for claiming money, but that money does end up moving to the state’s general fund. In the last two years, the Unclaimed Property Division has paid out over $225 million.

If the owner passed away, the relatives can then claim their financial property. Bracken said they have a team of investigators that are responsible for tracking down the family members who are entitled to claiming their highest-valued items.

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