Everyone loves the idea of discovering untold wealth that they did not know about. In fact, we almost all have seen emails promising to find property that belongs to us from “the government”. Oddly enough, hundreds and thousands of people do have property that is owed to them and it is being held by government agencies. However, the truth of the matter is that most of this property can be found and claimed free of charge. If you or a family member has ever lived in Iowa, you may be wondering how to find unclaimed property in Iowa.
Finding out by notification
Property owners may be notified by mail by a company who refers to themselves as a “property finder” that they have found property that belongs to them. Before filing documents with these companies, it is a good idea to do some research on your own. Most states, Iowa included, provide easy access to property that they are holding on your behalf. There is never any reason to pay a fee for reclaiming assets that rightfully belong to you or your family.
Finding property online
The State of Iowa maintains a website called “The Great Iowa Treasure Hunt” where they maintain a public list of assets that are held by the State Treasurer. Those with Internet access may simply put in a name to see if there is property being held. It is generally a good idea to search under the proper spelling but also common misspellings.
If property is found in the database, a claim form must be filed to get the property. These claim forms must provide proof of ownership, proof of a right to claim (in the case of an heir or estate administrator) and other documents as may be requested by the state.
Other public lists
Unclaimed property in Iowa is published on multiple lists and displayed at major events such as the State Fair and other similar events. Residents are encouraged to search these lists for assets that they may have a right to claim. It is important to note that the filing period for account holders (e.g., banks, credit unions, etc.) is in November and it may take until the following February before property appears on the list.
Fees and time limits
The State of Iowa does not charge a fee for claiming property that is listed as abandoned. In addition, they do limit the fees that third parties may charge to 15 percent of the amount that was actually retrieved for the benefit of the claimant. Claimants need not depend on a finder however, since the filing process is simple.
Claimants do not have to be concerned about time running out, Iowa unclaimed property statutes, Iowa Code 556, do not have any statute of limitations on filing a claim. Once abandoned property is turned over to the state, it is held in perpetuity for the rightful owner or their heirs.
Most of us would love to think that we had a family member leave us millions of dollars. While most unclaimed property is valued far less than a million dollars, it never hurts to check. These assets belonging to you or a family member are sitting at the treasurer’s office waiting to be claimed by the rightful owners or heirs.