States hold onto unclaimed properties on behalf of the owner. Such property includes life insurance policies, tangible goods, and unclaimed employment paychecks.
You can search online with just your name to find out if you have any unclaimed property by going to http://unclaimed.org/ or http://missingmoney.com/. I did a search myself and discovered a $300 paycheck from an old employer that we had, for whatever reason, not received. Though we have not yet gone through the process, we are going to file a claim tonight and I will post a review.
Be very wary of scams, however, as this information is public and various firms may try to charge you to claim your money. The state comptroller will charge you a small fee (my state charges 1% for up to $5,000 and 1.5% above, zero for less than $100). Some however will try to get up to 10% out of you, or charge you to do the search. Don't fall for it - the information is free and filing your own claim is easy and cheap (so far as I can tell, it can all be done online).
Acting in the best interest of consumers, each state has enacted an unclaimed property statute that protects your funds from reverting back to the company if you have lost contact with them. These laws instruct companies to turn forgotten funds over to a state official who will then make a diligent effort to find you or your heirs. Most states hold lost funds until you are found, returning them to you at no cost or for a nominal handling fee upon filing a claim form and verification of your identity.If in doubt, call your state comptroller or visit your state's official website and search it for "unclaimed property".