What is Unclaimed Money in Iowa?
Unclaimed money in Iowa refers to any money or property that has been abandoned or unclaimed by its rightful owner. According to Iowa code 556.1, this includes:
- Any check, draft, order for the payment of money, demand deposit, savings deposit, time deposit, certificate of deposit, share accounts in a credit union or other financial institution, tangible personal property held by a financial institution in safekeeping for another person pursuant to an agreement with such other person,
- Escrow funds held by an escrow agent pursuant to an agreement with the parties to the escrow,
- moneys payable on a life insurance policy which has lapsed or matured and for which no claim has been made within three years after such maturity or lapsed
- Uncashed payroll checks, and refunds due a utility customer.
Iowa law requires financial institutions and businesses to attempt to return any unclaimed money to the rightful owner. If the rightful owner cannot be located, the financial institution or business must file a report with the Iowa State Treasurer. The office then holds onto the unclaimed money until the rightful owner comes forward to claim it.
There are a few exceptions to the rule that financial institutions and businesses must attempt to return unclaimed money to the rightful owner. These exceptions include:
Money that is less than $50
Money that has been abandoned for more than three years
Money that is owed to a business by another business
Escheatment refers to the process by which unclaimed money is turned over to the state. In Iowa, all unclaimed money is escheated to the state after three years. Once the money has been escheated, the rightful owner can claim it at any time by filing a claim with the Iowa state treasurer.
How to Find Unclaimed Money in Iowa
Interested persons may search for and claim their unclaimed property by visiting the Great Iowa Treasure Hunt website maintained by the office of the State Treasurer of Iowa. The website provides a searchable database of unclaimed property. To use the database, the requestor must provide their name, and the city, county, or state in which they believe the property is located. If a match is found, the requestor will be asked to provide additional information to verify their identity. Once verified, the claim process can be initiated online. Otherwise, claims must be submitted by mail using the forms provided on the website.
The office of the State Treasurer of Iowa is responsible for safeguarding and returning unclaimed property to its rightful owners. The office annually processes over 400,000 claims and returns an average of $40 million in unclaimed property to Iowans each year.
Individuals may also contact the office of the State Treasurer directly to inquire about unclaimed property via email at FoundIt@tos.iowa.gov. To obtain information via mail, requestors may query the office at:
State Treasurer's Office
Des Moines, IA 50319
Phone: (515) 281-5368
Fax: (515) 281-7562
How Do I Find Iowa Unclaimed Money for Free?
The official Iowa Unclaimed Money Database – the Great Iowa Treasure Hunt may be used to search for unclaimed money for free.
This database contains all unclaimed property held by the state of Iowa. Persons who find property of interest on the database will be required to file a claim with the office of the State Treasurer in order to receive their property or unclaimed funds.
Another way to search for unclaimed funds in Iowa is to contact the county treasurer in the county where the claimant believes the funds may be located. Each county has their own process for handling unclaimed funds, so it is important to contact the specific office that would be responsible for those funds.
State residents can also access unclaimed money through federal agencies including:
- The Treasury Hunt
- The National Association of Unclaimed Money Property Administrators
- Credit Union of Unclaimed Shares
How to Claim Unclaimed Money in Iowa
After searching for and finding unclaimed property using the Great Iowa Treasure Hunt website, requestors may proceed to initiate a claim on the database. To do so, the claimant will be required to:
Review The Claimed Property:
After selecting the property of interest, the user will be required to review it before proceeding to file the claim. This must be done to ensure the accuracy of the property selected.
Select The Claimant-Owner Relationship:
Claimants must indicate their relationship with the owner of the property being claimed. To do so, they may use the descriptions provided to make the selection. If the owner is also the claimant, they may select ‘Myself’, otherwise, they can select the appropriate option, whether they are a legal heir or representative.
Enter The Personal Information and Confirm Their Address:
Requestors may then proceed to provide their personal information along with their current mailing address. They will be required to verify the address in the subsequent prompt.
Submit The Claim:
After the information has been provided, they may review and submit the claim. After submission, claimants will be provided a claim number which can be used to track the claim status.
Provide Documentation Requirements:
For the claim to be processed, the requestor will be required to provide documentation to prove their identity and ownership of claimed funds or properties. This usually includes photo identification and social security number, however some claims may have additional documentation requirements.
The documents may be uploaded through the GITH secure website; otherwise, the claimant may mail the documents to:
Great Iowa Treasure Hunt
Lucas State Office Building
321 E 12th St., 1st Floor
Des Moines, IA 50319
How Long Does It Take to Get Unclaimed Money in Iowa?
It can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to receive unclaimed funds or unclaimed property in Iowa. The time frame depends on the size of the claim and the number of claimants. The larger the claim, and the more claimants, the longer it will take to process. However, most claims are processed within a few weeks.
Who Can Claim Unclaimed Money From Deceased Relatives in Iowa?
Persons who have relatives who died in Iowa may be able to claim any unclaimed money that they left behind. The Iowa Unclaimed Property Division is responsible for holding onto this money until it is claimed by a rightful heir.
To claim funds left behind by the deceased, the claimant will need to provide proof of their relationship to the deceased person. This can be done with a birth certificate, marriage certificate, or other official documentation.
Next, they will need to provide proof of death. This can be a death certificate, obituary, or other official documentation. These documents may then be submitted along with the claim form to the office of the State Treasurer.
The following people are eligible to claim unclaimed money from deceased relatives in Iowa:
- Nieces and Nephews
If there is more than one person who meets the above criteria, the money will be split evenly amongst them, especially where there is no will specifying the deceased’s preferences.
What Happens to Iowa Unclaimed Money if No One Claims It?
In Iowa, there is no statute of limitations on unclaimed money, which means that the state does not have a deadline by which claimants must file their claim. However, after three years have elapsed from the date when the property became unclaimed, the funds will be turned over to the Iowa Department of Treasury's Unclaimed Property Division. The division will then hold onto the funds until they are claimed.