An Overview of Unclaimed Property and Money in Wyoming
Wyoming only has a population of half a million people, which means around one in five people is owed a share of $26 million. This is unclaimed money that has been turned over by businesses, banks, insurance companies, and so forth. Whenever the owner of an account can’t be found or contacted for a number of years, the account is considered inactive and the assets are turned over the Treasury Dept.
Wyoming is a custodial state. This means the Treasurer’s Office safeguards all of the unclaimed money and assets until it is reunited with owners. If the owners have moved on, their heirs may make a claim for it. This is good to know, as it sometimes takes decades for someone to finally come forward. Many people simply don’t even know that the accounts exist. The State Treasury Dept. lists the following as common unclaimed property types:
Wyoming’s Unclaimed Property Division places ads in newspapers every spring, with a list of account owners who have $10 or more. There is also a list available on the state’s website that contains the names of owners of accounts that have been held for more than two years. The only downside is that a complete list isn’t available on the state’s official website, so those with newer accounts must call 307-777-5590. Those interested in getting a “complete” name search can also call this number.
Since 1993, over ten million dollars have been returned. However, there is still a large amount owed, which keeps growing every single year. The reason why so much money remains unclaimed is because people simply don’t know about it. Hopefully, Wyoming starts educating its residents more about the Unclaimed Property Division.
Why does property end up being unclaimed, anyway? Mostly, people just get so caught up in day-to-day business that they forget about it. Some people go through difficult or busy times and lose track of all of their assets. Some people earn money through investments without realizing it. And, of course, some of the owners have passed on leaving their heirs unaware that the assets exist.
Those who find out that unclaimed property does belong to them can file a claim. They will be able to fill out a form and submit it with proof of ownership. The State Treasury Dept. will inform them of what they need in order to make their claim. Usually, a copy of the claimant’s SS#, ID, proof of residency, etc, are required.