Bitterwallet’s How To… reclaim lost assets

22 November 2010

Money. Must be funny in a rich man's world.The Unclaimed Assets Register estimates that there’s over £15 billion of unclaimed dough in this here United Kingdom. Whether it’s your own moolah or that of a deceased relative, it’s surprisingly easy – and cheap – to reclaim what’s rightfully yours.

How do I reclaim lost assets?

The method for tracking down your money varies, depending where it lies. In any case, it’s usually free to search online; there’s no need to pay a third party to search on your behalf.

Banks, building societies and NS&I

If a bank gets returned mail (usually in the form of statements) and can’t track you down at your new address, or if there’s no credit/debit activity for several years, your account might be declared dormant. But fear not; you’re still entitled to your money, if you can remember where you left it.

mylostaccount is a free service provided by the British Bankers' Association (BBA), the Building Societies Association (BSA) and National Savings and Investments (NS&I). It allows the user to perform a search across all three sectors with just one form. Nice. Having said that, you do need to know which bank your account was with; you can’t simply cast a net over the entire industry and see what comes back.

Note: the search only incorporates accounts that have been declared dormant. If your account is still active, simply contact your bank directly.

You should receive a response within three months; in the case of NS&I accounts, you might hear back a little sooner, but it can still take ‘up to 12 weeks’.

That’s great, but what the heck does NS&I actually mean?

NS&I covers a range of products, including:

- premium bonds
- capital bonds
- income bonds
- deposit bonds
- cash mini ISAs
- TESSA ISAs

What if my request is rejected?

If the bank or building society can’t validate your claim, you can take up your case with the Financial Ombudsman.

Pensions

It’s a good idea to keep in touch with your pension schemes, as losing contact can affect your ability to claim when you retire. The Pension Tracing Service holds information on over 200,000 pension schemes, and will search on your behalf - free of charge.

Unit and Investment Trusts

The IMA (Investment Management Association) can help track down unit trusts.

The AIC (Association of Investment Companies) has an online search facility for tracking investment trusts. Or you can give them a call on 0207 282 5555.

Life insurance policies

For a fixed fee of £25, the Unclaimed Assets Register will search for lost life insurance policies, pensions, unit trust holdings and share dividends.

What about deceased relatives?

Generally, with the above search utilities, you’ll be asked if the account is in your name. If not, just pop in the name of the account holder and the provider will get the ball rolling. Assuming (a) you can prove your identity and relationship to the deceased, and (b) there’s not a will somewhere stating that you’ve been disowned by the family and hence are entitled to exactly £0; your claim should be successful. Of course, if you’ve seduced an oil tycoon and he failed to amend his last will and testament before passing away, you’ll be in for a tough slog.

2 comments

  • Boris
    I have taken pity on this lonely article so that it gets at least one comment. It's so sad to see a commentless article.
  • Mark C.
    Thanks - really useful article!

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