Arkansas Unclaimed Property Overview – What is Defined as “Unclaimed” in AR?
Every year, the state auditor prepares a list of all the unclaimed properties and owners in Arizona. A report of all the names is available online, from 1985 to now. Each year, millions of dollars worth of unclaimed assets, including bank accounts, uncashed checks, inheritance money, stock certificates, utility deposits, etc, are turned over to Arizona by companies who can’t locate the owners.
“The Great Arkansas Treasure Hunt” is a service online that allows individuals and businesses to search for unclaimed property information. Over $100 million sits in the state treasury, waiting to be located and claimed by owners. An estimated 240,000 individuals to date are owed some of this money. According to state auditor Jim Wood, “10% of the people in Arkansas are owed money.”
Each year, over $18 million is added to the Arkansas Unclaimed Property Fund. This amount has grown considerably since the program began in 1985. Clearly, the state isn’t doing a sufficient job of reuniting assets with owners. Many people don’t feel that the process is worth the hassle and let it go unclaimed. Even Hillary Clinton’s name has shown up during a search.
Some people aren’t even aware that they have assets. Over time, people forget about the money due to change in name, relocation, death, divorce, etc. Sometimes businesses are owed funds due to mistakes in the bookkeeping department. The dormancy period varies depending on the type of asset, although there is no limit for making a claim once it has acquired the status of “unclaimed.
It’s important to note what is and what isn’t considered “unclaimed”. Letting an account sit and accumulate interest DOES NOT necessarily mean that it’s abandoned. An account can be kept active in a number of ways. The financial institution can cross-reference an inactive account with another active account with the same owner.
The dormancy period varies in Arkansas depending on the property type. The period can be anywhere from one year to fifteen. Wages, commissions, class action proceeds, utility deposits, and governmental subdivisions all have a dormancy period of one year. And, as with most states, a traveler’s check has a period of fifteen years before it is officially “unclaimed”.
Individuals or businesses who think they might have some unclaimed property can use an internet search form. Information concerning the property, including the name and address of the holder, can be obtained by filling out a claim form. They can also write or call the Unclaimed Property Division in Arkansas. The Auditor of State should reply with information on how to claim the property.