It's Your Money!
This year the Unclaimed Property Fund held by my office reached an incredible $1 billion dollars. This is cash and other valuables that hardworking Texans have somehow forgotten and walked away from. It has been turned over to the state by banks and businesses that have been unable to locate the rightful owners.
Every October, I publish the annual Unclaimed Property List in Texas newspapers. This year's list contains the names of more than 142,000 unclaimed property owners who have $71 million in forgotten assets. These are only the unclaimed property owners who have been reported to the state within the last year. When you add up the money that remains unclaimed from previous years, $1 billion is waiting to be claimed.
With so much money waiting to be claimed, it is important to take a few minutes to check the Unclaimed Property List every year. While the state is holding this money, it is put to good use to educate our children and provide other essential state services, but I would much rather give it back to its rightful owners, especially in these tough economic times.
Unclaimed property can be anything from a forgotten rent or utility deposit, to an uncashed check, a dormant bank account or family heirlooms in an abandoned safe deposit box. Banks and businesses turn these assets over to the state after three to five years if the owners cannot be found, but unclaimed property continues to belong to its rightful owners. There is no time limit to claim the money.
In addition to checking the Unclaimed Property List in the newspaper, you can find lost money by visiting my unclaimed property Web site www.window.state.tx.us/up/. The site contains the names of unclaimed property owners on this year's list and from previous years. If you find your name, you can begin the claim process online. More than 80 percent of unclaimed property claims are now submitted online. If you prefer to talk with a customer service representative, just call 1-800-654-3463 weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. We'll search for your name and answer your questions free of charge. As one tough grandma, I know that no Texan can afford to walk away from their hard-earned dollars.
Carole Keeton Strayhorn