Have you forgotten about a large sum of money that is rightfully yours?
Naturally, you will answer no – but don’t be too certain. It is more common than you might think to lose track of old bank and savings accounts, life insurance policies and even pensions.
We look at how you can find and reclaim your lost money.
How much money is going unclaimed?
There could be as much as £850 million is sitting in forgotten bank and building society accounts. However, the total unclaimed cash that is languishing in accounts and policies could be very much higher. The Unclaimed Assets Register believes that there could be up to £77 billion in the UK waiting to be restored to its rightful owners.
There are several ways to lose touch with your forgotten wealth.
Most of us move several times in the course of our lives. A change of address is one of the most common causes of losing track of their cash. The bank or insurer might try to send out statements, but if your postal forwarding runs out, and your statements are being returned as not known, there is little that they can do.
An unexpected death, which leads to beneficiaries of financial accounts and policies not being informed is another.
Savings accounts are frequently opened by parents or grandparents on behalf of a child, and the child may be completely unaware of their existence.
Even getting married can cause accounts and the cash in them to go astray. If Miss A becomes Mrs B and doesn’t go through the full procedure with each one of her financial providers, her identity, and her entitlement can become more difficult to establish.
Fortunately, there are ways to track down the money you are entitled to.
Bank and building society accounts
There are more than 150 million bank and building society accounts in the UK, and the British Bankers Association believes that there could be anywhere up to half a million dormant or lost accounts.
So, making sure you keep on top of your bank statements is crucial to ensuring you don’t leave any money behind.
It is easy to lose track of a pension too. A change of employer can mean losing track of funds you contributed, and with a working life of 45 years or more, both workplace and personal pensions get lost.
A free Pension Tracing Service is run by the Department for Work and Pensions. If the service finds a pension you may be entitled to, you’ll be given the address of the pension scheme provider so you can get in touch with them directly.
Tracing life insurance policies is a little more difficult. There is no single web service to help.
If you know the name of your life insurance provider, you could get in touch with them directly. If you don’t have any policy details then the Unclaimed Assets Register may be the best option.
Many financial firms list unclaimed accounts and policies with this service – but remember, it is not free, and there is a £25 fixed fee for each search.
If you are thinking about finding your old accounts and savings as part of full financial overhaul, it might be wise to get some expert support. At Continuum we would be happy to provide the support you need.
The information contained in this article is based on the opinion of Continuum and does not constitute financial advice or a recommendation to suitable investment strategy, you should seek independent financial advice before embarking on any course of action.
independent.co.uk – How To Check Whether You Have Unclaimed Money In A Bank Account – 21st March 2017
unclaimedassets.co.uk – Trace & Claim Missing Assets in the UK