What is Unclaimed Money in Wisconsin?
Wisconsin's Uniform Unclaimed Property Act defines unclaimed money as any financial asset that the owner has not used for a year. The institution holding the asset cannot contact the owner. In Wisconsin, unclaimed property includes: dormant savings accounts, checking accounts, refunds, credit balances, certificates of deposit, matured life insurance policies, and uncashed dividends. Unlike in some other states, Wisconsin exempts real estate from its unclaimed property law.
Asset holders may include but are not limited to: banks, credit or utility companies, insurance companies, credit unions, savings institutions, and mutual fund companies.
The Wisconsin Department of Revenue (DOR) is the agency handling unclaimed money in the state. Asset holders are expected to report unclaimed property to the DOR by filing an Unclaimed Property Report using this guide. The dormancy period, when the state becomes the custodian of unclaimed assets, is between one and five years, depending on the asset.
How to Find Unclaimed Money in Wisconsin
The Wisconsin Department of Revenue keeps an online database of unclaimed funds, which is open to members of the public. Interested parties can search for unclaimed money by providing their last or business names (required) and may choose to include their first and middle names in the provided website section. They can also provide the property ID if available.
For more questions about unclaimed property, the public can contact the Unclaimed Property Unit via email or by calling (608) 264-4594.
How Do I Find Wisconsin Unclaimed Money for Free?
The Department of Revenue's online database is accessible for free and open to all. Although there is no federal government-wide repository for searching unclaimed funds, some federal agencies keep their records of unclaimed assets.
Interested parties can find unclaimed money by surfing the repository of these federal agencies that keep these records. They include; the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), US Courts, the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA), and the US Department of Treasury, Bureau of the Fiscal Service. Of course, interested parties can always search these repositories for free.
NAUPA has records of unclaimed properties for all states in the country. Members of the public can search unclaimed properties by state or province and can also search multiple states at the same time.
U.S. Courts have records of unclaimed bankruptcy funds within their purview. Anyone can locate unclaimed assets using the U.S. Bankruptcy Unclaimed Funds Locator. The requesting party will have to follow the process outlined by the court to file a claim and can contact the bankruptcy court holding the funds for further information on how to file a claim.
The Bureau of the Fiscal Service keeps records of matured savings bonds and unclaimed payments on other securities. People can search these records using the provided search portal on the website.
How to Claim Unclaimed Money in Wisconsin
The Department of Revenue allows a prospective owner of an unclaimed asset to file a claim online using its e-claim service. People who find Wisconsin unclaimed property on the DOR's database will have to answer a series of questions online before filing their claim.
The first step is locating the property and hitting the select button to claim it. The selected item will be displayed on top of the page, and the interested party can click on the 'claim properties' button. This action redirects requesters to a page asking if a locator or a locator service is filing the claim.
Interested persons must also complete the provided e-form and choose an option describing their relationship with the asset owner. For example, owners of properties are to select the 'reported owner' option in the description box.
The next step will be to provide more personal information to the DOR as proof of ownership or relationship. This includes first and last name, social security number, date of birth, state driver's license number, email address, phone number, and current home address. The DOR will also request documents that validate the provided information, such as proof of residency and vital records.
Residents can also contact the DOR via this address:
Wisconsin Unclaimed Property
Department of Revenue
P.O. Box 8982
Madison, WI 53708-8982
Federal agencies like NUAPA and HUD do not receive filed claims. Instead, these agencies only help people locate an unclaimed property, after which they must follow the state's claim policy.
How Long Does It Take to Get Unclaimed Money in Wisconsin?
The Wisconsin Department of Revenue does not give a specific timeline for claiming unclaimed money. However, after 30 to 120 days after the DOR has approved the owner's claim, most funds are returned.
Concerned parties can always monitor the status of their claims and make further queries to the Unclaimed Property Unit via email or by calling (608) 264-4594.
Who Can Claim Unclaimed Money From Deceased Relatives in Wisconsin?
In Wisconsin, heirs and surviving family members, executors, and court-appointed probate administrators can claim unclaimed funds from deceased persons.
These individuals must provide appropriate documentation to affirm their relationship to the deceased, such as death certificates and marriage certificates. The DOR will also request some personal information from the requester. Without these documents, interested parties cannot claim an unclaimed asset.
What Happens to Unclaimed Money in Wisconsin if No One Claims It?
The Division of Revenue is a custodian of unclaimed funds and must hold these funds indefinitely until the rightful owner is located. There are no time limits for interested individuals to claim abandoned properties. The DOR will release unclaimed funds only when the rightful owner can prove legal rights to it.
State law enforces a statute of limitation for properties held under sections 852.01 or 863.37, Wisconsin Statutes. They can only claim them within ten years after escheatment. The DOR must sell the unclaimed asset at a public auction. This usually happens within three years after receiving it.
Also, securities have a one-year statute of limitation, after which the DOR can sell them to the public. State law permits the DOR to sell securities listed on a formally recognized stock exchange at prices prevailing at that period of sale on the exchange. The DOR may sell other securities over the counter at prices prevailing at the period of purchase or may choose any other method it deems advisable.
Can Someone in Wisconsin Claim Unclaimed Money From Another State?
Yes. Residents of Wisconsin may have financial assets in other states and may have unclaimed money there. As a result, they can file a claim to the appropriate state agency holding the unclaimed asset.
Guidelines for claiming unclaimed money differ in each state. Therefore, interested parties must follow the requirements outlined by the state. For example, some states allow paper claims, unlike in Wisconsin, while other states like California have both paper and e-claim policies for filing a claim.
Regardless of the state's policy, one of the general requirements for all states is providing proof of ownership or relationship when filing a claim. Therefore, requesting parties must have all the needed documents with them, such as vital records, wills, affidavits, et cetera.