Managing all of your assets is not easy at all. You would have bank accounts here and there, all sorts of insurances, shares and some other investments. Not small number of them would be created and be forgotten. People tend to create them and leave them as they are. However, they are sleeping money that you can re-claim and turn them into active assets again.
The Australian Government provides the service that allows you to track and find inactive assets. They call it unclaimed money. This blog post will explain how you can claim your assets back. Let’s start with the basic. We will look at how the government defines unclaimed money.
ASIC or Australian Securities and Investments Commission defines unclaimed money as the money that is hidden in lost bank accounts, investments, insurances, and shares. We can lose this money when we face a big change in our life such as marriage, moving, or any situation that we have to update our bank or insurance details. The ASIC website explains that ASIC receives unclaimed money and transfers it to the Commonwealth of Australia Consolidated Revenue Fund.
Once the transfer is complete, the fund becomes available to reclaimed by the owner. And there will be no expiration date for the claim. According to the unclaimed money laws, if money in bank accounts has sat there for 7 years, it becomes unclaimed. The number of years also applies to life insurances. An interesting fact is that you can receive the interest if you are eligible for the payment.
To make sure, check this page to find the details. If I summarise important points,
- Interest can be paid for the unclaimed money from 1st July 2013.
- your date for the interest can be found when you search unclaimed money record.
- interest is not payable in case of your fund being part of company gazette or deregistered company trust fund.
How to Claim Your Money
To claim your money, you should first search it by your name or Original Transaction Number on the money smart website. In my case, there has been no lost fund that I can claim. Try your name in the input box and press Search Now. If you find any lost money, you can use one of the three methods to reclaim it.
Bank Accounts & Dividends
If you search result indicates that you have unclaimed money from a bank account, you can apply for reclaim by contacting the relevant financial institution. The bank is responsible for matching your identity with the bank details. If that goes successfully, the bank will notify ASIC. And, ASIC will release the lost fund to the bank, so that the bank can pay you. It will generally takes up to 28 days from the bank’s notification to ASIC to the fund release to the bank. For bank accounts, the minimum unclaimed money is $500.
Life Insurance Policies
If you find your search result saying that you have unclaimed money from life insurance or friendly society, it requires the same step as bank accounts’. You need to contact your life insurer or friendly society to confirm that you are the right owner of the fund. When the verification is successful, the institution will notify ASIC. The, ASIC will transfer the funds to the institution. You can receive the money from the insurer or the society. It will also takes up to 28 days from the verification to the funds release to the institution.
Shares and Investments
If the search result says that you have unclaimed money that is regarded as “Company money” or “Company
- “An individual”
- “A joint shareholder”
- “An executor of a deceased estate”
- “A director, secretary or liquidator of a registered company”
- “A proprietor of a registered business”
- “A trustee of a superannuation fund or trust fund”
- “A parent or guardian of a minor or person holding power of attorney”
Just like any other types, it will take up to 28 days from the date ASIC receives your request to the release of the funds. If you are not in Australia, ASIC will send you a cheque, which will take a longer time. Since the fund is likely to be kept by ASIC, you need to verify the ownership of your investments with them. You can use the form shown on this page.
Other Types of Unclaimed Money
The above three cases can be searched on the Money Smart website. But there can be other types of unclaimed money. Please read through the rest to check if you are eligible for the claim.
If you have changed your address, job, left Australia, or your name, you may have forgotten some of your super accounts. myGov provides a way to track all of your super accounts that are both active and inactive. When you find old super accounts that you have lost, you can apply for claim on the myGov website. Starting from 1st July 2019, super providers will be required to transfer inactive low-balance accounts to the ATO or Australian Taxation Office. So, you will be able to track small accounts as well.
To find your all your super accounts:
- Visit myGov and login (or create if you don’t have an account)
- Link your myGov account to ATO
- Select “super”
- Check your super accounts and select to transfer your super to other account you want.
Lost Estates, Dividends, Salaries, Cheques, Overpayments & More
State governments keep unclaimed money from “deceased estates, share dividends, salaries and wages, cheques, trust money, over-payments and proceeds of
In addition to the method right above, you can use Fair Work Ombudsman to search for unclaimed wages. There, you can fill out a form to conduct the search. You will need to know
It is great that the Australian government provides these means to its people to prevent them from losing their assets that they’ve earned hard. I will recommend making good use of these sources to better track of your lost money.