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19 April 2010

Keaveny: How to Find Your Unclaimed Property

How would you like to find $360? That’s the average amount one in ten Missourians have waiting for them in the unclaimed property account, located within the Missouri State Treasurer’s office.

You can think of the Unclaimed Property office as Missouri’s largest lost and found. According to the state treasurer, unclaimed property consists of cash from bank accounts, stocks, bonds and contents of safe deposit boxes that have been abandoned. Abandoned property is defined as property for which there have been no documented transactions or contact with the owners in five or more years. Other types of unclaimed property include uncollected insurance policy proceeds, government refunds, utility deposits and wages from past jobs. The Unclaimed Property Division does not handle real property such as land, houses, cars and boats.

When companies cannot reach the owner of these types of property within five years, it is state law for the company to turn the amount over to the state treasurer’s office. That office doesn’t hold on to the property forever, such as in the case of safety deposit boxes, and they occasionally host an auction and hold the money in an account listed under the person’s name.

The website allows you to search the database of unclaimed property by name. You can also call them by phone at (573) 751-0123 or write them at Missouri State Treasurer's Office, Unclaimed Property Division, P.O. Box 1004,
Jefferson City, MO 65102. There is no time limit for filing claims, and if you do find unclaimed property, you’ll just need to provide the necessary documentation. The office can also put you in touch with the other states that have unclaimed property holdings.

Please note that the process is entirely free. The treasurer’s office would never charge a fee or require a deposit or credit card information to locate unclaimed property.

So what are you waiting for? Find out if you have any money waiting for you or someone you know. You’ll be glad you did.

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