Do you need an infusion of cash? Before you get a second job or start selling off grandma's heirlooms you may want to see if your state owes you a payout. State coffers are overflowing with an estimated $24 billion in unclaimed money, writes ARP Magazine contributor Walecia Konrad — and some of it may be yours for the taking.

It comes from a number of sources, including abandoned savings accounts and stock dividends, and forgotten utility deposits and paychecks. In all of these instances, businesses are legally required to turn the unclaimed money over to the state for safekeeping.

And thanks to online databases, it's never been easier to find out what — if anything — you have coming to you.

The best place to start looking is Missingmoney.com, a searchable database sponsored by the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA), a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing unclaimed property awareness.

Searching is easy and free. You simply go to the Web site and enter your first and last name on the home page, along with the state where you live. The site will search for any property registered in your name. (Remember to plug in all the states you've lived in. You never know what you might find.) Go to: http://www.missingmoney.com

If your search doesn't turn up any treasure, keep in mind not every state has provided its data to Missingmoney.com, and it may be worth following up with your state government. For quick results, try visiting the state's Web site.

If the site doesn't offer online search options, NAUPA recommends sending a letter requesting a search. To expedite the process, include your full name, last known in-state address, Social Security number and contact information.

Happy hunting!

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