The Great Iowa Treasure Hunt Program – Do You Have Unclaimed Property in Iowa?
The Great Iowa Treasure Hunt is a program that deals with unclaimed funds. Whenever certain assets go unclaimed after so many years, banks and other organizations turn them over to the state. The state then tries to reunite the property with the rightful owner. Many people don’t realize that they are owed money, and many of the funds go unclaimed forever.
Since the program began in 1983, over $100 million has been returned to rightful owners throughout the state. The $100 million has been paid out to nearly 300,000 individuals and companies. Despite the state’s efforts, whoever, $200 million still remains unclaimed to date. Millions of more are being turned over every year. Approximately 1 out of 3 Iowans is owed money. More than 800,000 individuals and businesses are rightful owners of the $200 million.
It seems strange that so many people would forget about money, but in today’s fast-paced world, is it really all that surprising? Sometimes people get off course and simply forget about stocks that they have invested in. Some people quit their jobs without realizing that the company owes them a benefit check. Some of the unclaimed property is inheritance money that the heirs know nothing about. And, of course, people get married or divorced all the time, and often forget to notify everyone of their name change.
Common types of unclaimed or abandoned property include: dormant checking or savings accounts, utility refunds, retail refunds or rebates, unclaimed wages, uncashed checks, insurance dividends, stock certificates, and safe deposit boxes. For the most part, these are all intangible assets. The only tangible assets are the contents located inside safe deposit boxes.
Iowa puts in more effort than many other states in trying to find owners. The Great Iowa Treasure Hunt program gives out public service announcements through TV and radio and sends out first class letters to citizens. The program also lists names of owners at state and county fairs. There’s an online database through which individuals and companies can search to see if any of the assets belongs to them.
There is no time limit for owners or their heirs to claim their assets after they become custody of the state. It’s also free to file a claim, although some firms offer “finder” services for a fee. Those who have unclaimed money can fill out a claim form and mail it into the State Treasurer Office, along with an affidavit, photo ID copy, and any other documentation that the state might request.