Could you be owed a share of billions of pounds of ‘lost’ money which is lying around just waiting to be claimed?
New research by Sanlam UK has discovered that as much as £77 billion is up for grabs in seven different locations in the UK. But the question is how can you find out if any of it might be yours?
Sanlam – a financial planning and investment firm – has examined the financial landscape and believe they have identified massive amounts of money which the British public has either forgotten about or never even knew existed:
- Lottery wins
- Lost insurance policies – including PPI
- Personal investments
- Old bank and building society accounts
- Premium bonds
- Child Trust Funds
It’s hard to put an accurate figure on how much cash might be waiting out there because millions of people could be involved and the amounts range from ‘peanuts’ to millions.
Long forgotten bank savings accounts might hold just a few hundred pounds, but amazingly three people who bought lottery tickets in Greenwich, London, Cheshire East and Derby in August and September last year still haven’t come forward to claim their £1 million prizes!
The biggest ever unclaimed UK jackpot was £63.8 million which would have been won on a ticket bought in Stevenage or Hitchin areas of Hertfordshire in December 2012.
Winners have just 180 days to claim their prize, so time is running out for the lucky three. If they don’t make the claim before the deadline runs out then the money reverts to the Lotto Good Causes fund.
PPI claims deadline
Another type of deadline applies to claims for the mis-selling of payment protection insurance (PPI). Britain’s financial regulator – the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) – has imposed a final deadline for claims to be made of August 29th this year.
Anyone believing they may have a case for mis-selling must make sure their lender receives the claim before that date or lose the right to do so.
Millions of people have already made successful claims for mis-selling and the British finance industry has paid out more than £33.3 billion, but lenders are still receiving tens of thousands of new claims a month and the overall payouts are still going up by £⅓ billion a month.
Life insurance policies can be held for many years and are therefore easily forgotten. Unclaimed Assets UK who help to trace lost money believe there is up to £2 billion lying around in unclaimed life insurance.
To check if a deceased person may have some it’s worth going back through old bank statements and cheque stubs to see if any premium payments were ever made.
The Pensions Tracing Service believes there is more than £5 billion in forgotten pension schemes in the UK ands they can help find yours.
Consumers have an average of 11 jobs in their working lives and it is all too easy to lose track of an employee pension when you switch jobs. Personal pensions can get lost when you change your name (e.g. as a married woman), move house or neglect to update your personal details.
Investments might also be held over a long period of time and paperwork can go missing.
Searches are free but there is a charge for issuing a duplicate certificate. Two other potential sources are The Investment Association and The Association of Investment Companies.
Old bank and building society accounts
The Money Advice Service claims there is £850 million sitting unclaimed in British accounts, left behind when people switched to a new firm before the new switching service came into effect.
But it’s easy to check if any of it belongs to you by contacting My Lost Account who cover more than 30 banks and all 44 UK building societies.
It’s particularly useful if the firm in question has closed or merged with another. Money can be returned in as little as three months.
The same organisation can be used to check if you have any Premium Bonds you may not be aware of. National Savings and Investments say they have more than 15 million unclaimed prizes worth more than £60 million.
Once you have established that you own some bonds you can check if they have ever won any prizes by visiting the National Savings and Investments website and using the online form to make a claim.
Child Trust Funds
Children born between 2002 and 2011 were given £250 each in Child Trust Funds, designed to pay out once they reached 18, but over a million of them have never been claimed and have been marked ‘addressee gone away’ because they have received no forwarding details.
According to The Share Centre, more than £2 billion remains waiting to be claimed. To make a claim simply submit a request via GOV.UK – you’ll need a Government Gateway ID, which you will already have if you submit a tax return.