In the UK, it’s reported that up to a staggering £77 billion worth of unclaimed assets are collecting dust, waiting to be claimed by their rightful owners. Amid this hidden wealth are forgotten bank accounts, pensions, and investments that could very well be yours.
In this article, we explore the 6 most common reasons you might have unclaimed assets and how to claim them.
What are unclaimed assets and why should you care?
Unclaimed assets in the UK are funds or property that have become forgotten over time, sitting unclaimed due to various circumstances. They can include dormant bank accounts, untouched pensions, lost insurance policies, and unclaimed estates.
With the collective pot of these unclaimed assets reaching approximately up to £77 billion, there’s a chance that some of this could be legally and rightfully yours.
The reasons for these assets remaining unclaimed are many, often starting with something as simple as moving houses and failing to update contact details, to more complex issues such as unawareness of entitled inheritances. It’s crucial to explore these possibilities as reclaiming these assets can bolster your financial situation.
Now, let’s uncover the common threads that lead to assets becoming unclaimed and how a little bit of investigative effort could prove to be financially rewarding.
6 Reasons why you might have unclaimed assets waiting for you
Here are 6 Reasons why you might have unclaimed assets waiting for you:
Forgotten financial accounts
It’s human to lose track of things over time, and money is no exception. Let’s assume there’s a bank account you opened a long ago for a specific saving goal or the first pension you contributed to. Without regular checks, this can easily slip into dormancy. These dormant accounts, along with pensions from past jobs and investments that have drifted from memory, form a silent queue of financial opportunities stacked away.
Inheritance from deceased relatives
Estates without clear heirs often go unnoticed. If a relative passes away without leaving a will or if the heirs are unknown, their assets, like property or money, can end up unclaimed. There’s also a chance they had life insurance that no one has claimed. Sometimes, people don’t even know these policies exist. Other assets, such as savings or stocks, often emerge after someone’s death. Check if you’re entitled to a potential significant inheritance waiting for you.
Overlooked tax refunds
Overlooked tax refunds are a common reason you might have unclaimed assets out there. If you’ve moved homes or switched bank accounts, a tax refund might have been sent to your old address or account, just missing you. Sometimes, simply not filing a tax return—maybe because you thought you didn’t earn enough—means you’ve left money with the taxman. And let’s not forget those amended returns; if they show you paid too much tax before, you might be due a little extra back. It’s definitely worth a look—after all, it’s not every day you get a bonus from the tax office!
Unclaimed wages and insurance claims
Ever left a job and forgotten to pick up your last paycheck? Or had an insurance claim you didn’t fully settle? That money doesn’t vanish. Old employers and insurance companies might still have it, just waiting for you to call dibs.
Sometimes the government has a bit of your cash. Maybe it’s a tax refund you didn’t claim, or you didn’t know you were owed certain benefits. Even old savings bonds you forgot can be cashed in. A quick search could turn up money you never knew you had.
Corporate changes and class action settlements
Companies change hands all the time, and that can mean money for shareholders. If you’ve ever owned shares, there could be payouts you’re entitled to. Also, if you’ve used a product that was recalled or part of a lawsuit, there might be settlement money out there with your name on it.
How to search for unclaimed assets
Looking for unclaimed assets doesn’t have to be tough. Knowing the right places to search and how to dodge the scams makes it easier. Here’s how to begin:
a. Using official state and federal databases
Your first port of call should be the official databases. In the UK, this means checking with the government’s unclaimed assets schemes like the National Savings and Investments (NS&I), Gov.UK, Pension Tracing Service, or the British Bankers’ Association (BBA) for forgotten bank accounts. These services are free and provide a starting point for tracking down what might be yours. You’ll need some details at hand, such as your National Insurance number and the details of any previous addresses.
b. When to consider professional asset finders
If you hit a dead end or suspect there are assets that are harder to trace, professional asset finders can help. They’re useful if you’re dealing with potential inheritance from distant relatives or complex cases with little information to go on. These specialists have the tools and know-how to dig deeper, but be sure to use a reputable service that charges a reasonable success-based fee, rather than upfront charges.
c. Avoiding scams related to unclaimed assets
Scammers love to prey on people’s hope of finding unclaimed money. Always be sceptical of unsolicited messages claiming you have assets waiting to be claimed. Never hand over personal details or payments upfront. Legitimate services don’t ask for money to tell you whether you have unclaimed assets. If you’re unsure, check with the Citizens Advice Bureau or Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) for guidance.
Use Know Your Dosh to make sure no assets go unclaimed
Embarking on the discovery of unclaimed assets might feel like unearthing hidden treasures. Yet, the most powerful step you can take is ensuring that your assets never fall into the ‘unclaimed’ category.
Using “Know Your Dosh”, you can securely add and track all your finances, assets, liabilities and properties and share this information with your family.
On your dashboard, there is a household member section where you can add all your loved ones to whom you want to have access to your financial information.
So, in an emergency, your family can support each other emotionally without the stress of tracking down financial institutions. Secure your financial legacy with ‘Know Your Dosh’ and rest easy knowing your family will always have the map to their rightful inheritance. Start Now
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