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West Virginia Unclaimed Money
What is Unclaimed Money in West Virginia?
West Virginia State Treasury defines unclaimed property as assets presumed abandoned when they remain without activity for a specific time frame (dormancy period). Unclaimed property is a general term used to refer to both intangible and tangible assets. However, unclaimed money (also known as unclaimed funds) refers to mainly intangible financial assets. An example of tangible assets includes the contents of a safe deposit box. On the other hand, examples of Intangible assets include utility deposits, unredeemed stocks, and checks that were never cashed.
West Virginia's unclaimed property laws are the main determinant of how unclaimed properties are handled in the state. The act names the State Treasury as the administrator (custodian) of unclaimed properties in the state.
As unclaimed money can take different forms, each form has a specific dormancy period after which it may be considered abandoned under section 36-8-2. Under section 36-8-4 unclaimed money that is considered abandoned is subject to be in the custody of the state treasury provided certain conditions are met as detailed in the section. This process is known as escheatment. Alternatively, escheatment may be described as the ability of the state or an approved business to take temporary custody of unclaimed assets.
How to Find Unclaimed Money in West Virginia
West Virginia's official unclaimed property website maintained by the State Treasury Division of Unclaimed Property may be used to find unclaimed money in the state. The site has several features including a search portal that can be used to query a government list of unclaimed money currently under the custody of the State Treasury. In essence, the search portal may be used to search for unclaimed money. On the search portal, members of the public may provide their name, the unclaimed property owner's name, or a business name to perform a search. The site may also be used to file an online claim for an unclaimed asset when found through the search portal. Alternatively, a name search may be conducted via the State Treasury Unclaimed Property Division's toll-free number at (800) 642-8687, by email at Eclaims_Support@wvsto.com, or by mail at:
322 70th Street, SE,
Charleston, WV 25304
For further unclaimed property-related assistance, the aforementioned email address, phone number, or mailing address may also be contacted. Aside from the unclaimed property website, other third-party locators may also be used to find unclaimed money in West Virginia. These are non-government-run search engines that can be used to find unclaimed property usually at a fee.
How Do I Find West Virginia Unclaimed Money for Free?
West Virginia unclaimed money may be found for free by using the Unclaimed Property Division’s search portal. As stated earlier, this search portal is maintained by the State Treasury and it contains a database of unclaimed money. Meanwhile, escheatment also allows certain federal agencies to take temporary custody of unclaimed money. In turn, these federal agencies maintain free-to-use databases of unclaimed money currently in their possession. Some examples of these databases as well as its superintending federal agency include:
- Treasury Hunt; This is a database managed by the Bureau of the Fiscal Service. It may be used to find unclaimed money such as matured savings bonds, treasury notes, missing saving bonds payments, and missing securities payments. Note however that, the treasury notes included in the database are those that no longer earn interest, saving bonds are limited to series H or HH, and the securities included are those held in legacy treasury direct. Performing a search on Treasury Hunt is fairly straightforward, inquirers are asked to enter a few pieces of information such as their SSN and current state residence amongst others. If any potential matches are found, the search results are returned immediately, and more information on how to claim the asset would be provided. If no result is found, future searches may be made as each month the Bureau adds undeliverable payments and newly matured securities to the database. Further inquiries may be made by phone at (844) 284-2676 (Monday-Friday 8 am-5 pm ET).
- The U.S bankruptcy unclaimed fund locator; As the name implies this database contains information about unclaimed money derived from bankruptcy cases held by federal courts including those in West Virginia. By providing certain information different bankruptcy cases unclaimed money may be found through the database. This information includes the court's name (such as West Virginia southern bankruptcy court), the creditor name, debtor name, and case number. Note that each court oversees and is solely responsible for its applicable unclaimed money. To make inquiries about certain court cases the Federal Court Finder may be used to find the contact information and addresses of local federal courts. General inquiries may also be made by mail at;
Administrative Office of the United States Courts
One Columbus Circle, NE
Washington, DC 20544
- The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) unclaimed insurance funds search portal; Current and former policyholders or their beneficiaries who are owed insurance by the VA may find their unclaimed money for free through this search portal. The insurance programs included in the portal are the U.S Government Life, National Service Life Insurance, Veterans Special Life Insurance, Veterans Reopened Insurance, and Service-Disabled Life Insurance. Inversely, Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) or Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI) policies from 1965 to the present are not included on the portal. All that is needed to perform a search is a veteran's last name and first name(optional). Further inquiries the VA may be contacted or visited in person at:
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
810 Vermont Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20420
Alternatively, the VA location finders may be used to find the addresses on contact information of local VA facilities.
How to Claim Unclaimed Money in West Virginia
In West Virginia, unclaimed money claims can be made online through the Unclaimed Property Division of the State Treasury website. Alternatively, a claim form may be requested from the State Treasury. To begin a claim filing process, a claimant would need to find unclaimed money they may own or their benefactor’s own.
As mentioned earlier, unclaimed money may be found through the unclaimed property search portal maintained by the State Treasury. The State Treasury may also be reached via phone call or email to perform a search over the phone. Once a claimant has found any of their unclaimed money through the aforementioned search methods, they may proceed to file a claim.
For claims made via claim forms, the claimant would need to appropriately fill the claim form as well as provide other required documentation. This documentation may include a copy of a form of photo identification such as the claimant's driver's license and a legal document listing the claimant's social security number. Claimants may contact the Unclaimed Property Division to determine the documents required for their claim as these documents typically vary by the claimant. After gathering and reviewing all of the relevant documents, a claimant may submit the documents along with their completed claim form to the State Treasury's Division of Unclaimed Property. This may be done by either uploading/submitting their claim and other relevant documents via the State Treasury's secure link or mailing address at:
West Virginia State Treasurer's Office
Unclaimed Property Division
Post Office Box 4228
Charleston, WV 25364
To file a claim online, a claimant would need to navigate to the unclaimed property search portal (link provided above). On the portal, the claimant may perform an unclaimed money search by providing their name or their benefactor’s name and then click on the search button. If the search yields too many results, the claimant may enter a city name or zip code to narrow down their search result. Once any of the claimant's unclaimed property is found, click on the green claim button on each of the relevant unclaimed properties. After making this selection, click the green continue to file claim button to proceed. Next, the claimant would be led to a page where they have to select their relationship with each of their selected property. There are in total eight different options provided. Each of these options is briefly described at the top of the page. After making these selections, click on the blue file claim button located at the top of the page to proceed. On the next page, the claimant would have to enter their contact information such as their email, phone number, and mailing address. After filling all the required input fields, click on any of the blue next buttons at the bottom or top right side of the page. An address suggestion may pop up for the claimant to confirm that the address they provided is a valid mailing address. Lastly, the claimant would be led to a preview page where they can review the unclaimed properties they selected as well as the documentation and contact information they provided. If all of the provided information is correct, click on the submit button. By clicking on the button, the claimant would officially create their claim and generate the claim's number.
Similar to claims made via a claim form, the claimant would also need to provide certain required documents based on their claim. An email is typically sent to the claimant when their claim is created. This email contains a list of required documents a claimant needs to submit for their claim to be processed. After gathering and reviewing these documents, the claimant may submit these documents via the State Treasury's secure link or by mail. If these documents are uploaded via the secure link, check the document verification check box and click submit button to finalize the claim.
Periodically, claimants may use their claim number to check the progress of their claim through the Unclaimed Property Division claim status page. A claim's number may be found on a claimant claim form as well as the email they received from the state treasury when they submitted their claim.
How Long Does It Take to Get Unclaimed Money in West Virginia?
Claims are typically processed in the order they are received and it may take up to 90 days for a claim to be reviewed and validated. This timeline may vary depending on the number of claims the unclaimed property division receives at the time the claim was submitted. Once a processor has been assigned to a claim, the claimant would be contacted if additional documentation or information is required to process their claim. A notification email would be sent to a claimant once their claim has been approved for payment.
Who Can Claim Unclaimed Money From Deceased Relatives in West Virginia?
If the estate of the deceased is still open, any of their surviving relatives who have been appointed by a probate court as their estate administrator or executor are authorized to file a claim on the deceased behalf. Meanwhile, if the estate has been closed, only the heirs of the deceased are allowed to file a claim on their behalf. Furthermore, if the deceased left no will or estate, only their surviving spouse and other heirs may be able to file a claim. Additional documentation may be required to prove the claimant's relationship to the deceased and attest to their rights to the unclaimed asset. The State Treasury Division of Unclaimed Property may be contacted to ascertain what these requirements may be.
What Happens to West Virginia Unclaimed Money if No One Claims It?
West Virginia unclaimed money is held indefinitely by the State Treasury Divison of Unclaimed Property in a custodial capacity until they are claimed or its rightful owners or beneficiaries are found. When unclaimed money is claimed, the money including all interest it has acquired over time would be issued to the claimant.