EPISODE 25 ~ FIND YOURS: Bankruptcy: Find Your Unclaimed Money Held By The U.S. Bankruptcy Court

Let’s say you paid for a wedding dress at a local boutique and that boutique went out of business and declared bankruptcy before you got your dress.  You should be on a list of people owed a refund when a trustee liquidates the store’s assets.  If something like this JUST happened to you, make sure to GET your name on the list of creditors.

But even if you’re on the list, sometimes the money doesn’t make it to you.  There are a couple of typical scenarios, according to LegalZoom.com:

•The court trustee sent you a check but it was undeliverable because you had moved.

•Or you received the check but failed to cash it within 90 days, as required.

So, how do you undo this mishap?  First, search the bankruptcy court’s records for your name.  I will link you to a government website  where you can search many bankruptcy courts across the country.  Bankruptcy courts are federal and you will be looking for the regional District that the company filed in.  For example, The United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.

  If the bankruptcy happened in the last 5 years, you’ll likely get your money from that bankruptcy court in which the case was filed, because courts typically hold those funds for 5 years.  Simply ask the court what it requires you to do to claim your money.  It varies, but you may have to file an application and prove your identity and address.  And good news: Claiming funds usually does not require a lawyer.

If the bankruptcy occurred more than 5 years ago, the court has probably deposited any leftover funds into the US Treasury.  Fortunately, there is no deadline for filing a request with the treasury.  You can even claim funds owed to your ancestors.  If any deceased relatives owned a business, I strongly suggest searching for them because they’re more likely to have been in this situation.  The court that turned your money over can instruct you in how to claim your missing money from the US Treasury.

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