Mississippi Has Nearly $40 Million in Unclaimed Property – How Can Residents Get Their Money?

In the state of Mississippi, around one out of every five people has money waiting on them. Out of a population of nearly 3,000,000, approximately 600,000 residents and businesses are owed money from the state’s Treasury Department. This money includes assets that have been unclaimed for a few years. Whenever banks, businesses, hospitals, hotels, etc, can’t get a hold of those to whom the money belongs, they report the amount as “missing” to the Mississippi Treasury Department.

This amount of money, to date, equals to about $40 million. While this is quite lower than the unclaimed asset amount in most states, many Mississippians could really use the money. Not only is it the poorest state in the country, it’s still recovering from Hurricane Katrina. Residents in Biloxi should especially do a search to find out if they have any money owed to them.

So, where does this money come from? Whenever people move to a new place, marry, divorce, or move to a new place, they often forget to inform all of their associates of the address change. Those who pass away often sometimes forget to leave a will.

Unclaimed property can include:

  • Checking accounts
  • Savings accounts
  • Unredeemed gift certificates or money orders
  • Uncashed paychecks
  • Unclaimed stocks, bonds, and mutual funds
  • Traveler’s checks
  • Consumer overpayments
  • Utility deposits
  • Insurance payments or life insurance policies
  • Certificates of deposit
  • Safe deposit boxes (contents)

The State Treasury Office visits the annual Mississippi State Fair to reunite Mississippians with their money. At the fair, computers are set up in booths so that visitors can search the database. During the 2008 fair, the eldest resident in the state, 103-year old Margaret Martin, was reunited with $800!

In addition to reaching out to owners through state fairs, the Treasurer also places ads in daily and weekly newspapers throughout the state, and mails out a notice to the last known addresses of unclaimed property owners. Since the program began, more than $70 million has been returned to its rightful owners or heirs in the state of Mississippi. Clearly, the state is doing a good job at reaching out to residents. However, many are still unaware that they have money, as more than half a million still remain in the database.

Some of the money belongs to former residents who now live in other states. Anyone who has ever lived in Miss. is encouraged to search the online database. They can try variations of their name – especially if they’ve changed it in the past. Claim forms are available on the State Treasury’s website. They must be printed out and completed, after which they need to be sent in with the relevant documentation, such as old utility bills, notarized signatures, court records, etc.

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