According to the Illinois State Treasurer's Office, its Web site, and those of most states, is identical to any fee-based search company, so it is not necessary to use fee-based services.
Outside of contacting your state treasurer, where else might you discover unfound money? Remember those savings bonds that grandma and grandpa gave you for your birthdays and graduations? More than $13 billion worth of matured savings bonds have never been cashed. Additionally, more than 15,000 savings bonds and 25,000 payments are returned to the Department of the Treasury as undeliverable each year.
If you have matured and uncashed savings bonds, bring them to your local bank where they will cash them in for you. If you think you have lost a savings bond and have a record of the serial numbers, the Bureau of Public Debt (publicdebt.treas.gov) can look up their status. Also, bonds that are lost, stolen, mutilated or destroyed can be replaced free of charge as long as the Bureau of the Public Debt can establish that the bonds have not been cashed.
A few tips on how to keep your assets from going unclaimed:
Mellody Hobson, president of Ariel Capital Management in Chicago, is "Good Morning America's" personal finance expert.