More than half a billion dollars is up for grabs, says the Alabama State Treasury, which is in charge of unclaimed property. Banks and other entities are legally required to send the property and money to the state. Some items have been there for decades!
"Nothing gives us more pleasure than reuniting people with their own money," stated Alabama State Treasurer, Young Boozer.
It happens often, Boozer says, because people don't even realize the money belongs to them.
The property is primarily from safe deposit boxes that have been abandoned, but it could be from an insurance company, say an unclaimed policy, or a dividend check that was returned.
"There are a lot of holders that are required to remit the money to us," said Boozer.
Boozer says the state has about $559 million in unclaimed property, which represents 5.1 million claims. The average claim is only about $110, but it could be much larger or more valuable to you, personally. Boozer says they have found all sorts of items in boxes sent to them, including a meteorite and a gold medal. "We find a gold medal from the 1984 L.A. Olympics," he says.
"We have gotten a box where we've had a book of coins," said Natalie Rudolph, an administrative supportive assistant with the Alabama State Treasury Department. "We did a search on one of the coins and it was over $185,000 for just that one coin," she says.
Experts search to find the rightful owners but after a few years, if the items aren't picked up, space needs to be cleared from the vault and the valuables are auctioned off. The money is then still listed under the name and the search continues for the property to be claimed.
You can also make it easier to find out if you have money or items in your name. Just search the website or call the office.
"Check every year, check every 6 months. Any state that you have been in, check them. You just don't know what you might find," encouraged Rudolph. Boozer added, "When you can return an item of value back to an individual, it's a great event."
The state will send you a card to fill out to start the search process. Many people throw it away because they think it could be a scam, but if you see the words "MoneyQuest Alabama" you should check it out.
The easiest way to look is on the unclaimed property website. It's worth a look just by plugging in your name!
ON THE WEB: www.moneyquest.alabama.gov
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