Uncashed checks resulting from bankruptcy cases often go unclaimed, but you can now find out if the Federal Court System is holding onto funds with your name on them. There’s a new search tool available that will let you quickly see if there are some funds out there belonging to you that were never claimed.
Accessing Unclaimed Funds
A new online search tool developed by the Federal Court System makes it simple to search for any unclaimed funds simply by entering your last name into the database. The ‘Bankruptcy Unclaimed Funds Locator can be accessed through 39 of the country’s 94 court websites. Why would so much unclaimed money exist?
At the end of bankruptcy cases, monies owed are sent (usually via check) to those people that are part of a court case. Sometimes, addresses are wrong and other details don’t add up, and this means that the funds that were owed to someone are now unclaimed and left idle. Unless a person claims those funds (rightfully), there is little to no chance of those funds being returned to the person that was originally owed a specific amount.
What Happens to the Funds?
Bankruptcy courts in the U.S. hold onto funds for many years. If the funds are not claimed, they are eventually turned over to the U.S. Treasury. It is estimated that around $280 million funds are currently unclaimed in the U.S. - all resulting from bankruptcy cases. How long can one debt linger? It depends on each individual court, but some claimants have managed to retrieve funds going back as far as the 1970s.
Getting Your Money
If you do discover that some unclaimed funds are in your name, it might be a challenge to try and claim those funds. Due to complex court systems and laws, getting the money that is owed to you is often easier said than done. The best way to retrieve any funds that are owed to you is to hire a bankruptcy attorney.