The State of Oregon Owes Hundreds of Millions to Residents & Businesses

The Oregon State Treasury is trying to find more than a million owners of unclaimed property. The amount of unclaimed funds, to date, is more than $360 million! Approximately one in three residents is owed some of this money. Each year, Oregon receives millions of dollars worth of assets that people and businesses have forgotten about. The assets are kept safe by the State Treasurer until the owners come forward to claim it.

The state tries to return as many assets as possible each year. For example, in 2009, Oregon received nearly $53 million in unclaimed funds, and paid out $14.8 million of it to those who filed claims. Most of the assets are worth around $50-$500. However, a few are worth thousands. It seems strange that people would forget about so much money, but they really do. Some of the money belongs to businesses and banks as well.

The accounts are considered to be abandoned or unclaimed after so many years of inactivity. In Oregon, the amount of years is three for most property types. After businesses, banks, insurance companies, etc. fail to get a hold of the owners, they turn the money over to the state treasury. The state is then in charge of the assets and is responsible for keeping it safe. Owners can claim their share anytime, although the interest earned on the money is given to the Common School Fund.

The state is trying to add information about all accounts online. While it does provide a searchable online database to citizens, it’s not 100% complete. This means that the state is a bit behind other states. Part of the reason for the delay is that Treasurer Westlund is working with Congress on a federal legislation that would allow people to search through the state’s database for unclaimed US Savings Bonds.

It’s estimated that Oregonians could have as much as $400 million in unclaimed savings bonds! This is in addition to the millions that are already being held by the state. These unclaimed accounts can include a number of financial assets, including:

  • Stocks and mutual funds
  • Bank accounts
  • Utility checks
  • Uncashed checks
  • Gift certificates
  • Certificates of deposit
  • Uncashed refund checks
  • Inheritances
  • Safe deposit boxes

These are just a few examples of unclaimed assets. Those who are interested in doing a search can do so online. There are a few different databases that can be checked for free. Information can also be acquired by calling the State Treasury Department: (503) 378-3805, ext. 450.

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