Are You Owed Any Money in the State of Minnesota? How Can You Find Out?
Property in Minnesota is considered unclaimed or abandoned if the holder (business or bank) hasn’t been able to contact the owner for a number of years. The holders are required by law to attempt to contact the owner one last time before turning the property over to the Dept. of Commerce. The number of years varies depending on the property: for inactive savings accounts, it’s three years; for safe deposit boxes, it’s five years for money orders, it’s seven years; and for traveler’s checks, it’s fifteen years.
The state of Minnesota acts as a custodian for the assets while trying to reach out to the owners. The monetary assets, such as savings accounts, bonds, certificates of deposits, uncashed checks, etc, are held in Minnesota’s general fund until claimed. The tangible items, such as jewelry and coins found in safe deposit boxes, are held at the Dept. of Commerce. If this type of property is left unclaimed, they are sold at auctions every ten years. The next one is scheduled for 2013.
Around $450,000,000 remains unclaimed in Minnesota. More than $265,000,000 has been paid out, to date, but many people are still unaware that they are owed money. Each year, millions more is reported to the Department of Commerce. The Unclaimed Property Program began in 1969, and the annual amount of unclaimed property keeps increasing. In addition to the unclaimed assets, there are also hundreds of safe deposit boxes and nearly 9,000 security-related items held by the Minnesota Department of Commerce.
Over 1 million Minnesotans have unclaimed assets being held by the state. This equals to about one in five residents. The Department of Commerce places ads in newspapers around the state emphasizing the amount of money that is available, and invites owners to come forward. The public relations committee also visits state fairs to reach out to owners. Most of the unclaimed assets belong to residents and businesses in the Minneapolis and St. Paul areas.
The reason why hundreds of million dollars have yet to be paid out is because people just don’t know about this money. Citizens are encouraged to search an online database to see if they are owed anything. The Dept. of Commerce offers a search service on its website. Anyone who has ever lived in, or ran a business in Minnesota, needs to search for his or her name. Claim forms are available at the Dept. of Commerce website as well. Those whose names appear in a search can fill out a claim form. Instructions are provided on filling the form out, as well as how to submit it.