Missouri State Treasury Makes Claiming Easy and Fast for Unclaimed Property Owners
Over the past couple of years, the state of Missouri has been working hard to reunite unclaimed property with its owners or their heirs. State Treasurer Clint Zweifel has been able to return a large amount of money to owners by creating a paperless claims process that is available to accounts less than $250. There are more than 3 million accounts held, and 88% of them are $250 or less.
The state of Missouri currently has more than $500,000,000 in unclaimed property. Some of the 3 million + accounts belong to more than one person or company. Approximately one in ten Missourians is owed money. Since the claiming process is mostly paperless, the claims are easy to file and the returns are quick. The return time is around 15 days less than it used to be thanks to the new electronic processing.
To date, Missouri has accumulated over $600 million in unclaimed assets. More than $45 million of it has been paid out since January 2009. While there’s still a lot to go, the state Treasury Department is working hard to reach out to owners. Treasurer Zweifel has made numerous media appearances and has placed ads in publications throughout the state. There are fourteen full-time employees now working in the unclaimed property department, working to bring owners together with their assets.
Most of the unclaimed property in the state includes monetary assets such as forgotten funds, unclaimed checking accounts, uncashed payroll checks, unredeemed gift certificates, etc. However, some of it includes items found in safe deposit boxes. If unclaimed, most of these items are eventually sold at auctions. The only tangible items that will never be sold are 100 or so military medals that have been found in safe deposit boxes.
Where does the money come from, anyway? How does the state get a hold of it? State law requires businesses, insurance companies, banks, etc, to turn over all unclaimed property if they have had no contact with the owners for so many years. Five is the average amount of years for most types of properties. Most of the assets are kept in the state’s custody until the owners or their heirs claim them. However, some items from safe deposit boxes are sold at auctions. The proceeds are kept for the owners.
The Missouri State Treasurer offers a searchable online database for citizens. Even former residents who now live in other states and businesses that are no longer in operation need to check to see if they have any unclaimed money. Property can be claimed by downloading a form, filling it out, and sending it with appropriate documentation to establish rightful ownership. The state shouldn’t take longer than a month to process a claim.