Ask Terry Questions Abandoned Investment Accounts

Abandoned Investment Accounts

By Terry Savage on January 19, 2015 | Wild Card

Recently we have received letters from mutual fund and stock shareholder service companies notifying us that our accounts may be transferred to the state of IL because they may be viewed as “abandoned”. Our accounts have not been abandoned, these are investments that we no longer add money to. We signed the letters and returned them to the various firms to verify the accounts have not been abandoned. Is there anyway to avoid this in the future other than using an online account to check balances? We prefer not to establish any online accounts for our various investments so what are our options for keeping the state from claiming our investments?

Terry Says:  You know, I actually had this happen to me many years ago.  It was an IRA account, and I just kept filing the statements, and knew I was going to let it grow “forever.”  Then I was contacted to say they figured the account was abandoned!  I was astounded, and pointed out that the mailed statements had never been returned to them; they were all in my files!  But it taught me a lesson.

So, yes, you might want to contact each fund account every couple of years, requesting something — just to show you are alive and well!  Of course, time will eventually take care of this, because you’ll need to start making MRDs when you reach age 70-1/2.  You don’t have to establish an online account to do this contact;  you can call their toll-free number to make some kind of request that will be documented in your account — something as simple as saying “last months’ paper statement didn’t arrive.”  Costly to the fund company yes!  But it will keep you in  good standing.

(And you might want to establish an online presence —  just so you could check into your account balances online, which might qualify as “being un-abandoned”!  Ask them if just checking in online every once in a while is recorded, and serves to confirm your very alive interest in your account!)  It’s easy to set up online access, and just keep a list of your passwords safely hidden for each account.



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