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Step 3. Lost property -- including lost stock and dividends

Advice and reference info from members.  (Updated Jan 1, 2020)

This is an intermediate step in our step-by-step Stock Recovery process to help you find it, protect it, and prevent double taxation. If you haven't gone through the previous steps, start here:   Employee Stock

Unclaimed property

Almost everyone has some small stray uncashed check somewhere. This is surprisingly common, even for people who haven't changed their address in decades. For example, one member found an HP-related check that had been mailed to a misspelled street address with an incorrect zip code.

Companies are required to turn over unclaimed property to the state after a specific time period, which varies from state to state. As little as two years in some states. The process is called "Escheatment."

Before that, a financial institution may classify an account as "inactive"-- which may have consequences.

You may be approached by companies claiming to have found money for you -- for example, a private investigator has been contacting ex-EDS folks. There is no need to pay anyone.

You can easily check the public state unclaimed property sites for lost shares, uncashed dividend checks, and other stray money.

Go to the MissingMoney website, affiliated with the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators and check every state or province where you have ever lived or worked: 

Be sure to try variations on the spelling of your first and last names.

If you receive a notice of unclaimed property, respond promptly in order to prevent the escheatment of your asset to the state.

If you received a "Potential Private Retirement Benefit Information" notice from Social Security, it is usually based on outdated information -- as indicated by the "Year Reported" date on the form included in the body of the notice. Here's how to decode it:

Lost stock and dividends

Given HP's complex history of  acquisitions, divestitures, and spinoffs, you may be owed cash or shares.

Time to untangle your stock! With any employer, no one but you really cares about your employment-related stock. You may have stock in up to seven HP-related companies. It may not all be held in the same place. With each spinoff, the cost basis for your shares changed. Many find stray accounts -- or need to retrieve stock or dividends turned over to a state as "unclaimed." You could pay taxes twice on the same income. Your heirs may not find it all. An HP Alumni team developed a step-by-step process to find it, protect it, and prevent double taxation. Start the process at Employee Stock [You will return to this page as a step in the process.]

You must make direct contact with each broker and administrator at least once a year. Otherwise, depending on state laws and the broker or administrator's policies, members report that your stock may be turned over to a state as abandoned property -- which can be very difficult to retrieve.

Members report that checking your statement online doesn't count. Be sure that the name, address, and contact preferences on the account are current.

1. Check any Brokerage you use and with the current Stock Transfer Agent and Plan Administrator for each stock. See Where's my stock?

2. Check with state unclaimed property sites for every state or province where you have lived or worked, as described above. Also check the state of incorporation for each stock (see our Stock Decoder table.)

Next step:   4. Other Stock Issues

See also: The HPAA has a Finance Forum where we discuss US personal finance issues -- such as Social Security and stock -- from an ex-HPInc/HPE perspective.  Join the HPAA at no charge:


Disclaimer. The information contained in this website, or sites linked to it, is provided as a service to the community, and does not constitute financial, legal, or personal advice. We make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to this website and associated sites. As financial, legal, and personal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case, and finances and laws are constantly changing, nothing provided here should be used as a substitute for the personal advice of competent financial, legal, and personal advisors.

For more mutual help on this topic and many others, join the independent HP Alumni Association. If you were formerly a regular, direct employee of HP or HPE -- or are in the process of leaving -- join HPAlumni. No charge, thanks to HPAA members.

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