New Mexico residents owed millions in unclaimed money

A few years ago, I received an urgent email from my sister. The subject line said “Found Money!” She went on to explain that on a whim, she decided to search the Internet for databases containing the names of people who were owed money for one reason or another.

To her surprise and mine, she discovered that tens of thousands of dollars were owed to our grandmother who died in 1976. Since we were the only remaining heirs to her estate, the money was rightfully ours. We submitted our claims and received our funds within months. We have since found additional unclaimed funds twice.

Unclaimed funds are money and other assets whose rightful owner cannot be found. Unclaimed funds are usually released to the government after a legal “dormant” period has expired. Most states require that money and assets be returned to the state after five years. The two-step claims process, although a bit lengthy, is simple and free. The first step is to locate the unclaimed funds. The second step is to complete the process required to claim the money or assets.

Gary Sandler

The categories of unclaimed funds are numerous and may include abandoned or inactive bank accounts, abandoned safe deposit boxes, unclaimed state or federal tax refunds, life insurance payments, amounts owed to creditors of the bankruptcy, FHA mortgage insurance refunds, money left on gift cards, unclaimed retirement benefits, stock dividends and many other sources.

Unclaimed funds in New Mexico are held by the Department of Taxation and Revenue. Checking if you are eligible to claim funds is as simple as logging into https://www.tax.newmexico.gov/, opening the “Individuals” menu, and choosing “Unclaimed Property”. The Department’s Unclaimed Property Unit held approximately $309 million in unclaimed funds as of October 2020, including more than $35 million deposited in the previous year. During the same period, the unit paid 3,764 claims totaling $10,052,419.31.

The National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators maintains a state-by-state database accessible at https://unclaimed.org/. The site allows you to insert your name or the names of relatives who have lived in other states. Other official databases include:

An Internet search will provide links to other government agencies. Just be sure not to provide any personal information to similar or fraudulent websites.

Meet at closing time.

Gary Sandler is a full-time realtor and president of Gary Sandler Inc., real estate agents in Las Cruces. He loves answering questions and can be reached at 575-642-2292 or [email protected]

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