I recently got a letter from a bank informing me that I never cashed a check that they sent me way back in 2013. I don’t remember what it’s for, but I’m glad to get the money that is owed to me. I just need to sign the letter, get it notarized, and send it back to them. Then they’ll send me a new check.
That’s great! It’s simple and straightforward.
I read a bit further and it said that if I don’t claim the money, then it will be sent to the state. Here’s exactly what the letter says:
In these cases, state law considers the funds “abandoned,” and we are required to transfer the money to the state of Pennsylvania unless we hear from you soon. If we do have to transfers the money to the state, you’ll have to work directly with them to recover the funds. This can be complicated and time-consuming.
So let me get this straight: the state decided to make it a law that if I don’t get the money, they get to just take it? It makes a lot more sense to me that the bank would just keep it. What a convenient, self-serving law that they wrote for themselves! And even though there’s a legitimate paper trail leading to my ownership of the money, if I had to get the funds from the state, it would be “complicated and time-consuming?”
I’m not suggesting that banks and their often crony-capitalist ways are exactly the best institutions in the world, but I appreciate the warning that the state going to do its darnedest to keep my money from me.
I didn’t know that the state could do this. And I think most people would be at least annoyed about this. Furthermore, if someone had to fight the state to recover this “abandoned” money, he would be furious. These feelings would be completely justified. Yet this same person probably accepts the taxes taken out of every one of his paychecks. He probably accepts the sales tax he pays. He probably accepts the numerous other taxes he pays on a daily basis. In reality, it’s all the same. The government decided that your money is theirs. Their only “justification” is that it’s the law.
Think about that.