Does Florida Owe You Money?
Imagine receiving an unexpected windfall just by living in the Sunshine State. Yes, you heard that right. Does Florida owe you money? Chances are, it might. A surprising statistic is that one in five Floridians may have unclaimed property or money sitting idle in a state treasury account.
Like the proceeds of title loans in Florida, these funds, officials claim, are patiently waiting to be scooped up by their rightful owners or their respective heirs.
Sources of Unclaimed Funds and Property
The funds arise from an assortment of sources, including forgotten bank accounts, uncashed checks, insurance policies, securities, and even safe deposit boxes. Moreover, the concept of unclaimed property is not limited to just cash but also includes valuable items like jewelry, historical documents, and artwork.
Additionally, the state has noticed a substantial amount of unclaimed title loans in Florida. For those unaware, a title loan is a short-term loan in which the borrower’s vehicle title is used as collateral. The fact that such valuable assets are lying unclaimed is a testament to the necessity of residents to verify their eligibility.
How to Check and Claim Your Property?
Navigating the labyrinth of this opportunity is a simple process that can lead to potential benefits. The Florida Department of Financial Services (DFS) oversees the disbursement of these unclaimed funds through the Division of Unclaimed Property.
To see if you’re among the fortunate ones, you need to visit the Florida DFS website and use its convenient search function. Enter your name or the name of your business to see if there are any unclaimed funds in your name. If your name pops up, you’ve hit the jackpot!
Claiming the Property
If you find your name listed, the next step is to submit a claim. The process requires submitting the claim form along with the necessary documentation to verify your identity and prove your ownership of the claimed property. This could include a copy of your identification, proof of your social security number, and proof of your address. For businesses claiming property, further documentation might be required such as evidence of legal authority to claim on behalf of the business.
Heirs Can Claim the Property Too
If the rightful owner dies, the heirs can claim the property. They would need to provide additional documentation such as the death certificate, the will, or other legal documents establishing heirship. Also, it’s important to note that there’s no statute of limitations on claiming these funds. They remain in the state’s custody until claimed, meaning it’s never too late to check and see if Florida owes you money.
Why Does Florida Hold This Money?
So why does Florida hold all this unclaimed money? The state enforces laws known as ‘escheat laws’. These laws dictate that when property is unclaimed after a certain period, it must revert to the state until the rightful owner or heir can claim it. This ensures these funds’ protection and security instead of potentially being misused or lost.
Preventing Your Property from Becoming ‘Unclaimed’
However, the process does not end once you’ve claimed your property. To prevent your property from ending up as ‘unclaimed’ in the future, ensure that you update your address with all entities you do business with whenever you move. Keep your accounts active by interacting with them periodically and responding to any mail you receive about your accounts. Also, let your relatives know about your assets so they can claim them in case anything happens to you.