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by Mary Pitman

Pub Date: July 12th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0615452456
Publisher: Do The Right Thing

A bantam-sized guidebook brimming with tips on how to search for unclaimed property that belongs to you.

More than $1 billion goes unclaimed each year because of lost or unknown life insurance policies. Meanwhile, $200 million is waiting to be claimed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. Does any of this cash belong to you? Pitman explains there are troves of money hiding in inactive bank accounts, unredeemed savings bonds, unpaid tax refunds and elsewhere, just waiting for the rightful owner to step forward. With the passion of a treasure hunter and tenacity of a journalist, Pitman has compiled a detailed, step-by-step guide to help the average person unearth their missing money from layers of government and corporate bureaucracy. The book reveals a dizzying number of places where money may linger in limbo, from stocks and charitable organizations to oil and mineral royalties. Even more valuable are the practical search techniques as tested by the cyber-sleuthing author. Besides showing where to look, Pitman demonstrates the dozens of ways a person or business name can be stored in a computerized database. Novices will benefit from veteran tips such as entering “Mr.” or “Mrs.” as a person’s last name may yield better search results. The book also lists obscure sources of money, such as the $70 million waiting in a Native American trust or the $2,000 life insurance benefit for eligible survivors of retired railroad employees who died between 1964 and 2001. Rounding out this helpful text is advice on dealing with professional “money finders” and a handy checklist for changing a name or address. Well-organized and written in everyday language, the book makes searching the jungle of public records seem less daunting. A few real-life case studies on the claiming process from start to finish would have bolstered the author’s meticulous research. Still, despite its scant 72 pages, the book is complete enough to equip anyone with the tools to start hunting.

A small book that could point readers toward big money they never knew they had.