CHARLESTON, WV (WOAY) – With his Unclaimed Property Division already returning lost assets at a record clip, State Treasurer John Perdue announced that his office’s next newspaper insert listing names of unclaimed property owners will be distributed beginning this week.
The inserts are designed to inform and encourage owners to file claims for their unclaimed property. Insert dates are Thursday, April 5, April 12 and April 19.
In related news, Unclaimed Property claims paid to owners this fiscal year are on track to smash the all-time record of $15.4 million, set in fiscal 2009. As of late March of this year, the Division had paid over 8,000 claims totaling approximately $14 million. Three months remain in the current fiscal year. For March alone, the Division had paid claims totaling approximately $3 million. The customary Division goal is $1 million a month.
After fiscal 2009, the next two highest years of return are $13.8 million in fiscal 2016 and $12.4 million in 2017. The latter amount came on 8,112 claims.
A host of reasons contribute to the spike. Treasurer Perdue’s office is returning more life insurance settlements than ever before, thanks to both court and legislative victories; automated letters using updated addresses are in full use; and this fiscal year has been heavy with “reciprocal agreements,” in which West Virginia’s unclaimed program forwards properties to other states with the rightul owners’ last known addresses.
“Coupled with news that we are putting out another newspaper insert – traditionally one of our strongest drivers of claims filed — is the realization that we are having a truly banner year,” Treasurer Perdue said. “This is an exciting time to be returning unclaimed property, which we love to do.”
The State Treasury will look soon to give back even more property, with the newspaper insert titled “Discover.” It consists of approximately 15,000 names, which is a small segment of the total properties being held for Owners. Owners are people who have become unintentionally separated from an asset and for which the State Treasury has a last known address. The entire database of unclaimed properties valued at $10 or greater can be searched at wvtreasury.com.
The largest newspaper in each county distributes the inserts. In addition, some are direct delivered to homes, in hopes a rightful owner will see the name or an acquaintance will pass the word along.
“Please be looking for our inserts,” Treasurer Perdue said. “We have reunited countless numbers of rightful owners with their lost assets through the years. It’s your money and we want you to have it.”
Examples of unclaimed property are a left-behind utility deposit, a forgotten paycheck or a stock account with a long dormancy period. Real estate is not unclaimed property. Since taking office in 1997, Treasurer Perdue has returned more than $173 million to rightful owners.
Anyone with his or her name listed in an Unclaimed Property must file a claim to receive lost financial assets. Forms are available inside the insert. Individuals may also file a claim electronically at www.wvtreasury.com or calling 1-800-642-8687.