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State property holdings increase

By Staff
Jason Cannon , BNI News Service
Citizens of Alabama – including Morgan County residents – could be missing a piece of a $145 million puzzle.
According to the State Treasury Department, the Unclaimed Property Program has an ever-growing influx of unclaimed private property that people need to come pick up.
"The state treasurer's office is full of $145 million of unclaimed property," Alabama's State Treasurer Kay Ivey said. "Everything from checks, CDs, dividend checks…whatever."
Ivey said the items are turned over to the treasurer's office if the items have been abandoned in institutions – like banks – for more than five years. The treasury department will hold on to the items forever.
"The institutions will look for the owners for about five years, but then they are handed over to the treasury department and we try and track down the rightful owners," she said.
Ivey said they would hold on to the cash and liquid assets forever but some of the other items like guns, jewelry and other tangible items are auctioned off every few years to make room.
"Usually every two years, when we amass enough hard items to pay for an appraisal, we'll hold a public auction," she said.
Ivey said all citizens have the right to call or visit the web site free of charge and there is no fee associated with these items. Owners of the unclaimed property are posted on the state's website www.treasury.state.al.us or call 1-888-844-8400. The website allows users to search the treasury database using their late name.
She advised people to be on the lookout for people who would charge a "finders fee" to pick up the items.
"We encourage people to get on the website or call the number and file a claim," she said. 'Don't ever let anyone snooker you into getting your property for a fee. That's a bounty hunter. Any citizen, all they have to do is pick up a phone and tell them your name and ask them to look for their property."