The State of Texas Owes $2 Billion in Unclaimed Property & Assets

They say that “everything’s bigger in Texas”, so it’s not surprising that the state has one of the largest amounts of unclaimed property in the country. Most states have less than $1 billion; Texas has nearly $2 billion. To date, the TX State Comptroller’s Office holds $2 billion that belongs to many people and business. In fact, it’s estimated that one in four Texans is owed money. While this amount is rather alarming, TX isn’t the only state in which many citizens aren’t aware that they have unclaimed property.

Each year in TX, for every ten people who try to trace their money, fifteen more people don’t even realize that the money exists. Thus, the state is having a hard time returning all of the money back to its owners. To date, Texas has paid back more than $550 million to its rightful owners or their heirs. However, $2 billion more still remains.

Whenever somebody moves to a new location, they sometimes forget to inform all of their associates, banks, businesses, etc, that they will have a new address. Also, some people divorce or get married and forget to inform everyone with whom they do business that their names have changed. Thus, their financial accounts become dormant, which results in the money being turned over to the state after a certain number of years.

What is Texas actually doing to find the owners? Here is an overview of the “Claim It” program in TX:

  • The State Comptroller’s Office sets up an exhibit at the annual Texas State Fair, which includes walk-up searches of the unclaimed property database.
  • The program sends out notices to the owners’ last known addresses.
  • An insert is placed inside regional newspapers throughout the state. These inserts contain the names of all unclaimed property owners of $250+ for that year.
  • The state is involved with national unclaimed property databases.

People can find out if they have any money by searching online unclaimed money databases and calling 1-800-654-FIND.There is a limit of having three names searched through the phone.

There is no deadline for making a claim for the property. Even if the owners have passed on, their heirs can send in a claim. However, the state doesn’t have a lot of space in which to store items from safe deposit boxes, such as jewelry, medals, and family heirlooms. After trying to get a hold of owners, and failing, the state has to get rid of the items by selling them at auctions. Texas was the first state to start selling unclaimed items on eBay in 1999.

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