Recovering Lost Money: My Journey with Hawaii’s Unclaimed Property Process

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Discovering Hidden Treasure: A Personal Account

In this post I’ll share my experience making a successful claim for lost money from the State of Hawaii. I’ll share exactly how I identified my property, how I submitted my claim and what type of proof I had to submit to the State in order to successfully recover my money. I will even show you the exact forms I filled out and proof of the payment from the State.

My Eureka Moment: Locating my lost money

From time to time I would see an article or post about checking for unclaimed property. I was living in Hawaii at the time so I went to their unclaimed property website (link) and ran a search for my name. It’s simple, you just enter your first and last name, or a business name:

Bingo! I saw results for unclaimed money with my name. The record also had my temporary address in Hawaii. This was the first address I had when I moved from Seattle to Hawaii.

Property Record Search

I only used that temporary address for 1 month while I found a place. There must have been an issue with mail forwarding and this money was returned to the reporting company after I found my permanent place in Hawaii. In this case, the reporting company was Seattle City Light, the utility company in Seattle everyone uses for electricity bills. I must have had a balance after I moved and they tried to send me the remaining amount on my account. When my mail was returned (because I wasn’t at the temporary address anymore) Seattle City Light had no way of returning my money. Since my last known address was in Hawaii, they were required by law to turn it over to the State. The money remained in the State of Hawaii’s accounts until I found the property record and made my claim.

Claiming What’s Mine: Proof of ownership

You can see in the claim form that the State requires you to prove your connection to the property you are trying to claim. If your claim is under $50, you don’t need to hire a notary public, otherwise you’ll need to have the Notary Public also sign the form.

I was able to find and old bill – not for the claimed amount, just a random bill from that utility proving I had a business relationship with them. I figured this was enough to show the unclaimed money from Seattle City Light was mine. Here’s that bill, with my personal info redacted:

An old Seattle City Light bill from Seattle proved my connection to the unclaimed property reporting company

Sealing the Deal: Submitting the Claim

After gathering my proof, I went back to the Hawaii Unclaimed Property website to start the claim process. The first step is locating your record again, and clicking the property ID number next to the property record:

You fill out the fields with your information and the site pre-populates the PDF claim form. I just printed it, signed it, and mailed my claim packet (the claim form and the utility bill copy). Remember, if your claim is above $50 you’ll need to meet with a notary public for this step.

Getting my check in the mail

I cant remember exactly how long it took for the claim to be processed, but within a couple months I had an official check from the State of Hawaii, with the amount of the claim and everything. Here’s the a look at the check:

Overall, the process wasn’t hard at all and it really works. The State wants to reunite this money with its legal owners, so you should not hold back from submitting your claim if you find your name in a property search.

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