The State of Nevada’s Efforts in Reuniting Rightful Owners with Their Unclaimed Property
Under the Nevada Unclaimed Property Law, the state Treasury Department is required to collect, protect, and return unclaimed or abandoned property to its owner or heir. Most property is considered “unclaimed” after it’s been inactive for one to fifteen years. Wages are unclaimed after only one year of the holder losing contact with the owner.
All financial institutions and businesses (the holders) are required to send one last notice to the owners’ last known location informing them that their property is about to be transferred to the State Treasury Office. After receiving the property, the state publishes a notice to all owners in newspapers around the state at least once a year. Post cards are also sent out to the last known address of claimants. On the internet, the Office of State Treasurer keeps its database current, and allows potential owners and their heirs to search for their names.
The state of Nevada is often criticized for not reuniting unclaimed money with its owners. To date, the amount of all the accounts combined is nearing $400 million, and only processes a few hundred claims a month. There are 700,000 accounts altogether, which means one in four residents are owed money in Nevada. Since the fund began in 1980, tens of millions have been paid out, yet hundreds of million are still owed.
However, Unclaimed Property Division HAS created a “Fast Track” program in hopes of increasing the amount of money returned each month. For example, the 2009 collection amount of unclaimed money received was 160% MORE than the 2005 amount! However, the amount paid out in 2009 was also 218% more than the amount paid out in 2005. In 2005, the Office of State Treasurer received $29.6 million and paid out $7.9 million. In 2009, the state received $77.2 million and paid out $25.3 million.
There has also been a program implemented to make it easier for businesses and banks to submit unclaimed property accounts to the state. The new Voluntary Disclosure Agreement program in NV is designed to assist non-compliant organizations to conform to the unclaimed asset laws without having to worry about interest or penalties.
The best solution is for the citizens of Nevada to take the initiative themselves .They need to check to see if they are owed any money by performing an online search. A thorough search is sometimes a necessity, since a name can be listed in the database in a number of ways. Former Nevada residents are encouraged to search as well to see if they still have any money in the state.
Claimants must fill out a form and sign it in front of a public notary. The State Treasurer’s Office does provide notary services. However, a claimant must call ahead of time to make sure a notary is available at the office. It can take up to twelve weeks for a claim to be processed in Nevada.