Dividends are payments to shareholders of a company from the business itself. They are taxable incentives paid out of company earnings. Often they are paid quarterly as a bonus of sorts to the shareholders. Companies that pay dividends are stable enough that they can afford to pay out a portion of profits directly to shareholders rather than reinvest them into the company’s operations. Sometimes these dividends are left unclaimed. For whatever reason, the shareholder did not receive or did not cash the check, so the money remains in the company to gather interest.
Contact the company from which the dividend was issued. Start with the human resources department. They may redirect you to the department that handles investments. If the company is no longer operating, see step four.
Ask for an unclaimed dividend request form and ask how long an individual claim may take to process. Inquire as to what items of documentation are necessary to accompany the form and receive the unclaimed dividend. If the company is unwilling or unable to pay the dividend, see step four and/or contact an attorney.
Complete the form and provide proof of stock ownership in the company. You will also need to sign an affidavit to verify the claim and/or have the form notarized. Send the completed information (or hand-deliver it) back to the department from which it was requested. It is wise to send it as certified mail or with delivery confirmation so that you can be sure the paperwork was received by the company.
Contact the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) if you encounter any problems. The FDIC provides deposit insurance to financial institutions. The FDIC also is responsible for payment of insured deposits (including dividends) and liquidating remaining assets if a financial institution is closed or fails. Search for your funds on the website by entering your name and the name of the failed institution. Other text for search criteria and the state of the failed institution can also be used to narrow down the search.
Print or download the FDIC Claimant Verification Form to claim funds through the FDIC. You will be given an FDIC reference number; record this number next to your name on the form, then complete the form. Have the form notarized and sent to: FDIC, Attn: Claims Department – Unclaimed Funds, 1601 Bryan St., Dallas, TX, 75201. Within 30 days of receipt, you will be contacted in writing, by phone or by receipt of the refund check.
Kristie Lorette started writing professionally in 1996. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in marketing and multinational business from Florida State University and a Master of Business Administration from Nova Southeastern University. Her work has appeared online at Bill Savings, Money Smart Life and Mortgage Loan.