If you have money in an old bank account, pension or insurance policy, it may be easier to track down than you think. Read more on how to find lost bank accounts, pensions or Premium Bonds – and what not to do.
Find lost bank accounts – how to look for a dormant account
It doesn’t have to be difficult to find lost bank accounts – but there are several steps you will need to take. The more information you have about the lost bank accounts you’re looking for, the easier they should be to find.
Step 1: Go to the website Mylostaccount.org.uk. It’s been set up to help you find lost bank accounts as well as lost building society savings and National Savings & Investments.
Step 2: Fill in the form online. You’ll need to provide information such as your current address and previous addresses you’ve lived at.
Step 3: If you’re trying to find accounts on behalf of someone else, you either need to have their permission or (if they have died) you must be able to provide documents such as a death certificate or a copy of their will.
Step 4: You’ll then be asked to provide as much information as possible about the account(s), including the name of the bank or building society, account number, date the account was opened, the date it was last used and the approximate balance.
SAVVY TIP: It’s easiest to fill in the form online, but if you prefer, you can always download a form, fill it in by hand and post it. There are different forms to download, depending on whether you’re looking to trace a bank or building society account.
Find a lost pension
If you think you have money in a workplace, company or personal pension you can do this online on the government’s Gov.uk website. Here’s a link to the section on finding pension contact details. It has access to contact details for over 200,000 pension schemes and is free to use.
If you prefer, you can ring or write to the Pension Tracing Service instead.
- Telephone the service on 0345 600 2537 or (0191 215 4491 if you’re outside the UK) to go through the process over the phone or to ask for an application form.
- Write to the Pension Tracing Service: Write to them at: The Pension Service 9, Mail Handling Site A, Wolverhampton, WV98 1LU.
SAVVY TIP: As a minimum, you should have the name of the employer you worked for or the company providing the personal pension scheme. If you have more information – even better. You may have the address of the employer and whether it traded under different names or was part of a larger group. If it’s a personal pension you may know the name of the company providing the pension,.
If you have any problems tracking down your pension, contact the Pensions Advisory Service.
National Lottery prizes
If you’ve won the lottery, you have six months (180 days) from the date of the draw to claim. If you don’t claim by the deadline, the money goes to good causes.
The National Lottery has information about unclaimed prizes on its website. (I’ve just had a look and there are several unclaimed prizes of several hundred thousand pounds).
Tracing lost shares
If you’ve inherited some shares, you may not recognise the name of the company on the share certificate. That’s because the company may have been taken over by another firm. However, it should be possible to find out what you own and how much your shares are worth.
Step 1: If you have an old share certificates, contact the share registrar named on the certificates.
Step 2: If you don’t have details of the shareholding, but believe you own shares in a particular company, you can contact each of the three major share registrars (which keep details of who owns shares etc). They are: Link Asset Services, Computershare and Equiniti.
SAVVY TIP: The registrars will also be able to let you know whether you’re entitled to any dividends (income payments) from your share investments.
Other ways of finding your money
According to the Association of British Insurers, a number of insurance companies proactively try and find the owners of lost or forgotten policies, but not all do.
If you think you may be owed money, you could try and find it yourself. One company, the Unclaimed Assets Register has details of unclaimed policies from a range of pension funds, insurance companies and other financial firms. It charges a fixed fee (currently £25) for each search, but doesn’t take any of the money it finds.
SAVVY TIP: There are other companies that will track down money on your behalf, but they may take a percentage of the money they find. Before you sign up with an asset finding company, see whether you can track down the money yourself for free and ask them to spell out (in writing) exactly how much they’ll take.
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