Another Advantage Play – Gambling With An Edge

Another Advantage Play – Gambling With An Edge

Today’s blog has nothing to do with gambling. I recently profited from it, however, and surely some of you will too. (And just as surely, many of you will not profit by it.) Perhaps I’m wrong, but I see my readers as interested in more than just video poker.

This blog has to do with unclaimed property. In the United States, every state has some sort of unclaimed property division. In Nevada, it’s found at Unclaimed Property Home ( It shouldn’t be too hard to find similar departments in other states and possibly countries. (I know I have at least one Swiss reader, Boris. Perhaps he can tell us if they have one of these departments there.)

There are several sources of money that get escheated to the state. Some of these come from wills and trusts where heirs can’t be found. Or maybe some sort of insurance payment, or return of rental deposit, or something else that can’t be distributed because the company can’t find the correct person who deserves it.

I’m not sure how long each state has to keep this money separate before it belongs to the state. Probably it varies by state. But after a while, surely this happens. If someone died in 1902, for example, and willed some money to a person alive then, it’s a safe bet that that person is no longer alive. (Although such person may have heirs who are possibly entitled to the money.)

Anyway, my brother-in-law reminded me about this recently. I had checked in 2014 or so, but not since. (At that time, among other things I received one item for $1.50 that was due jointly to my ex-wife Shirley and me. I kept it all!) This time there were several financial items. Mostly small, but not all. 

One was from an IRA credit union account I had not used for almost 50 years, but it was still active up until the 50-year-no-usage date had arrived, and compound interest adds up over the years. That happened to be escheated to the State of California (where I haven’t lived for almost 30 years), and somehow it got forwarded to an address I lived at between 2001 and 2012 in Nevada. And from there, it went to Nevada unclaimed property. To be sure, I owe taxes on the money which is treated as an IRA distribution, but I do get to keep the majority. Plus, with it being an IRA distribution which gets reported to the Internal Revenue Service, I could have easily not reported it (because I didn’t know about it) and walked into an IRS audit — which is no fun.

In my case, I was not aware of this money because I have changed addresses a few times and my “forward mail” slips have expired. (In one case, I used a private post office box for my mailing address, and that particular business went under.) I suspect that anyone who has lived in the same place for decades will not have any such unclaimed property because getting in touch with these people should be easy. But at least one of the items I had coming to me was at my current address which somehow could not be delivered. 

Does this affect you? Maybe. It’s worth checking periodically.