Unclaimed property is not immediately lost when it is turned over to the state. What happens is that the unclaimed money is described and then held for a number of years to await someone to claim it. After that time, the money is turned over to the state coffers, but can be claimed by any legal claimant at any time in the future. Even the heirs of a claimant have the right to claim property or money.
In most states, you have at least 7 years to claim money that has gone into the unclaimed coffers of the state. During that time, you can claim the money due from the policy by proving you have a rightful claim to it. In the case of a life insurance policy, you will have to be a named beneficiary on the policy, and provide sufficient identification. Fees may be levied against the money you collect to cover the cost of maintaining the unclaimed money division.
The unclaimed property program is actually one of the oldest public protection programs in the United States. Unclaimed property laws first began to appear in the 1930's, but began to be more broadly supported in the latter part of the 20th century. Some form of unclaimed property law is used throughout the United States and its territories, as well as Canada.
In 2011, 2.5 million unclaimed property claims were filed and the average awarded amount was $892. Today, more than 40 billion dollars are held in unclaimed property coffers, waiting to be claimed by someone who discovers a forgotten life insurance policy that was never settled. A good place to look for unclaimed money that is due to you from a loved one is unclaimed.org or contact your state's department of revenue.