Annual Unclaimed Property Newspaper Publication Right Around Corner

By State Treasurer Ron Henson

 

If you’ve followed the work of the Treasury for any number of years you know that one of our favorite programs is the Unclaimed Property Program. Some people hear “Unclaimed Property” and think we’re talking about abandoned buildings or vacant land, but Unclaimed Property is actually money that is turned over to the state after an individual has lost track of it.

Most of the Unclaimed Property we receive is the result of a wrong address, because our society is so much more mobile now. People used to keep the same job for 30 years, live in the same town for that length of time, and stay in the same house for decades.

Now, people — especially the younger generation — are much more transient in their careers, moving from one job and city to another. Young people attend college in other states, move around more, and may live in several apartments or homes before settling down in one location. All of this mobility leads to forgotten utility deposits, rent deposits and even final paychecks. After a period of time if no one claims the money, it is turned over to us.

By November 1 of each year, Louisiana businesses are required by law to report their unclaimed deposits, paychecks and other funds to the state when they can’t find the owners. The law also requires the Treasury to publish a list of names of individuals who are owed Unclaimed Property that we’ve collected from businesses since our last annual publication in newspapers the previous year.

This year’s annual publication list includes 93,315 names and $42.6 million in Unclaimed Property and will appear in the public notices section of newspapers in every parish of the state. Individuals who are owed amounts totaling $50 and above will be included on this year’s list. Be on the lookout for it to appear in your hometown paper at the end of November.

Keep in mind that our annual publication list only includes unclaimed money we’ve collected since our last publication the year before. If you don’t see your name, we encourage you to visit our website at www.latreasury.com which holds our entire database of Unclaimed Property remaining to be claimed going back to 1972.

I’m often asked with disbelief how it can be so hard for Louisiana businesses to find citizens who are owed money, especially with all of the advances in today’s technology. Many small businesses simply don’t have the time or resources that the state does to locate every single person.

Couple this lack of resources with human error, such as a typo or one number wrong on a Post Office Box, and you can see how easily Unclaimed Property can occur.

In fact, it’s so easy for money to go unclaimed, that we estimate that one in six Louisiana residents is owed money. The average Unclaimed Property refund is around $900, so it’s worth your time to check your local paper later this month or our website to look for your name or the names of people you know. There are no strings attached with the Unclaimed Property program, and it’s a free public service.

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