Treasurer’s Office: Unclaimed Property Returns Increasing


A letter from the Nebraska State Treasurer’s Office explains how to claim property that The Daily Record didn’t know was waiting for it. (Photo by Scott Stewart)
By 
Luke Koesters
The Daily Record

The Nebraska State Treasurer’s Office returns an average of $14 million in unclaimed property each year, but state officials want to return even more.

The challenge is many people are unaware of what constitutes unclaimed property and the various ways it could end up remaining unclaimed, collecting dust instead of interest.

Unclaimed property includes insurance claim payments, dividends, security deposits, life insurance proceeds, vendor payments, wages, stocks, bonds, utility deposits, miscellaneous outstanding checks, safe deposits, gift certificates, rebates and dormant checking and savings accounts – in other words, payments and monetary gains that people often don’t see, making them easier to slip their minds.

Fortunately, this money isn’t lost – it’s just waiting, according to the Treasurer’s Office. All unclaimed property is held indefinitely, forever subject to claim by its rightful owner or their heir. That means a person has ownership over unclaimed property listed under their names, business names and deceased relatives, provided they are the nearest living relative. Of course, that can make checking for unclaimed property a little tricky, too.

The Daily Record recently received a letter from the State Treasurer’s Office that unclaimed property of less than $500 was listed under “Daily Record, The,” instead of “The Daily Record” or “Omaha Daily Record” – resulting in it being overlooked.

Publisher Jason Huff said its existence likely would have remained unknown without some form of outreach.

“I had no idea,” Huff said. “It was a pleasant surprise.” 

Outreach on unclaimed property has been a priority for the State Treasurer’s Office. Former Nebraska State Treasurer Don Stenberg received the Lifetime Achievement Award, the highest honor presented by the National Association of Unclaimed Property last year, for his efforts.

John Murante, the current state treasurer, is similarly committed to returning property.

“The number of claims we have received has been increasing,” Murante told The Daily Record. “We have outreach at public events, such as Nebraska State Fair and Harvest Nights, and publish public service announcements in print about what property has been recently received.”

For those interested in looking for unclaimed property, simply searching a name or business is a good place to start. Visit treasurer.nebraska.gov/up to search for unclaimed property.

“Our job is to return Nebraskans’ property free of charge,” Murante said. “Increasing numbers of websites are emerging that are charging people to look for unclaimed property. Nebraskans should never pay, and just visit our website instead.”

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