In my earlier article I mentioned about the huge sum of money amounting to more than Rs. 1,50,000 crores lying unclaimed as Bank Deposits, Insurance Claims, Dividends and Shares, Mutual funds and Provident Funds. (LINK)
If you’re one of those, whose money is a part of that unclaimed amount, but do not know how to get it back, read on to know.
There can be many reasons why money is left unclaimed. I have listed down the 2 most important ones.
- You have lost track of your own investments. You have not updated your records for change of address, or bank account or KYC or any other procedural lapse.
- You have inherited these investments from your parents, relatives and well-wishers, but you are not aware about these investments.
In spite of this, all is not lost. The good news is, this treasure can be claimed, provided you can prove that it is yours.
So, how do you go about claiming your money? How do you get back what is yours?
Step 1. Get the details.
I can’t stress enough on this one.
In case of your own investments, think about your first paycheck, or your first income. Go down memory lane. Spend some time thinking about all the investments you have made. Look up your old correspondence, bank pass books, physical shares, insurance policies, your provident fund statements.
Look for every bit of paper relating to money. Once you have all these, put them all in a file. Prepare Your Personal Net Worth Statement. Ensure that you have made a Nomination in all your investments wherever possible. Also, prepare your Will.
It is possible that you may have inherited some money as a legal heir. A legal heir is any person who is entitled to the property of a deceased person, either as per a will or succession laws. In either case, you need to get the same data that you would need for any of your other investments.
Get as much details and leads as possible. If you can’t remember, ask others. They can be your family members or friends with whom you may have shared some information. The smallest of information is enough to start the process. Remember, these are forgotten and unclaimed treasures, which is rightfully yours.
In case of inheritance as a legal heir, you also need to prove your identity. This process is called Probate. Probate is basically ‘proving of Will’ or ‘establishing validity of the Will’. You need to get a copy of the will. If the will specifies you are the beneficiary, or if you are the sole legal heir, then then you are the sole owner of that investment.
In case a will is not available; your inheritance will depend on the succession laws of the country. Succession of the person dying without leaving a valid and enforceable Will, is called Intestate Succession. In India, Laws of Intestate succession are different for Hindu, Muslims and Christians. Every country has its own Succession Laws.
If you are a legal heir, then you need to get details of the nominations and the investment and assets of the deceased person need to be pooled. The pooled wealth will then get distributed as per the succession laws. Remember Nominees are trustees of the assets and not necessarily legal heirs. Legal heirs are determined by a sound Will or by the Succession Laws, in case there is no Will.
In case both, the will and the details of the nominations are not available, you need to look up the correspondence and follow step 1 and prepare the personal net worth statement of the deceased person from whom the inheritance is taking place. The distribution will then take place as per the succession laws.
Step 2. Claim the money.
In order to claim the money, you need to have the details of the investment, a copy of the Will, or the nomination, and your personal identification proof. In applicable cases, you would need a copy of the probate. In case there is no Will, then Succession Certificates.
I have enumerated some of the categories of unclaimed deposits and how to get your money from those.
- Unclaimed Bank Deposits (over 10 years) Rs. 25747 crores
These unclaimed deposits mainly include non-operated savings/current accounts for 10 years, fixed/ term deposits/cumulative/recurring deposits/other deposits in any form, not claimed for 10 years from the maturity dates.
Banks are supposed to display the list of unclaimed deposits with the name of the account holder on their websites. For non-individuals, the name of the authorised person is also provided. The account number, deposit type and the name of the branch etc, are not disclosed.
So, if you have the relevant details of the unclaimed accounts of yours or those you have inherited, you can initiate action for refund. Not just the amount, you are also entitled to interest on the unclaimed amount.
Unclaimed Insurance (over 10 years) Rs. 15167 crores
The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has asked life insurance companies to provide a search facility on their websites to enable policyholders or beneficiaries or dependents to find out whether any unclaimed amounts due to them are lying with these companies.
Policyholders/beneficiaries are required to enter the details like policy number, PAN of the policyholder, name of the policyholder, date of birth, or Aadhaar number, in a window provided on the website of the insurer to find out the unclaimed amount. The insurers have to update information regarding unclaimed amounts on their websites on a half-yearly basis.
You can approach the Insurance Companies with the relevant documentation for the refund.
- Unclaimed Dividend and Shares (over 7 years): Rs. 17600 Crores
As per Section 125 of The Companies Act, 2013, all unclaimed and unpaid dividends and shares are required to be transferred by the company to the Investor Education and Protection fund (IEPF) established by the central government. Companies transfer those shares to IEPF, for which dividend has not been claimed for the past seven years or more.
The refund in respect of unclaimed dividends, matured deposits, matured debentures, the application money due for refund and interest thereon can be claimed from IEPF.
Once you have the basic details like the name of the company, you can go to the IEPF website, do a search, confirm the investment, fill in the necessary forms to get your unclaimed amounts.
In case the shares are available in physical form, the same has to be dematerialised. You will need to follow the dematerialisation process through any of the Broking Houses like Zerodha, ICICI Securities, HDFC Securities etc. In case you have inherited the shares as the legal heir, then you will also have to transfer the shares in your name for receiving the dividend or to sell the shares in future.
- Unclaimed Mutual fund – Rs 44000 crores
When an investor fails to encash a redemption or dividend cheque before it becomes invalid, the amount is categorised as unclaimed.
SEBI has made it mandatory for the Asset Management Companies to provide the details of unclaimed investment on their websites. An investor can check the unclaimed sum, if any, by simply putting his folio number on the AMC’s website.
If the investor does not remember his folio number, he may go to the website of the registrar –CAMS or Karvy — to check the unclaimed money status by inserting details like PAN number and email id or mobile number or bank account details.
You can claim the unclaimed money by completing the formalities with the AMC.
- Unclaimed Provident Fund and other Retirals from Employers – Rs. 40865 crores
Generally, you are entitled to retiral benefits from employers like Provident Fund, Employees’ Pension fund, Gratuity, in case you have worked in eligible establishments as per the respective Acts like the Provident fund Act and the Payment of Gratuity act. Generally, in the case the respective Retiral funds are managed by the Company, then you will have no problems since your employer will handle all the pay-outs.
However, if your employer has outsourced the retirals fund management to the Regional Provident fund or to some insurance companies like the LIC, then your company will generally help you with all the retrial details, so that you receive all the dues from the outsourced institution. Also, you might be eligible for other benefits like superannuation pension or medical insurance from some insurance companies. Ensure that on retirement, you get all the details with respect to your retirals.
You need to complete your KYC, update your residence and contact details with the respective institutions. In case of pension, you need to file your existence or life certificate (Jeevan Pramaan) every year or at periodic intervals.
There are various pension options like single or joint life, with or without return of capital. You can exercise the option of the type of pension only once.
Where you have opted for return of capital on your death, ensure that you have made proper nominations.
You can also view and operate your pension funds online with the respective institutions. In the case of Regional Provident Fund and Pension funds, the government has also come up with an APP called Umang, where you can get all details and update your details including the Life certificate or Jeevan Pramaan online.
Your hard-earned money is yours. At the same time, the money left behind by your parents and others, as per their Will to you, is yours.
Why leave it ? You can get your Unclaimed Money Back