State Treasurer Clint Zweifel administers Unclaimed Property for Missouri. His office currently holds nearly $700 million in Unclaimed Property in more than 4.3 million owner accounts.
Each year financial institutions, businesses, government agencies and other organizations turn over millions of dollars and the contents of nearly 1,000 safe deposit boxes to Treasurer Zweifel’s office. One in 10 Missourians has Unclaimed Property and the average claim is about $300. Unclaimed Property consists of cash from bank accounts, stocks, bonds and contents of safe deposit boxes that have been abandoned. Abandoned property is defined as property for which there have been no documented transactions or contact with the owners in five or more years. Other types of Unclaimed Property include uncollected insurance policy proceeds, government refunds, utility deposits and wages from past jobs. Unclaimed Property does not handle real property such as land, houses, cars and boats.
Although Treasurer Zweifel would like to keep the contents of safe deposit boxes until an owner or heir is identified, the Unclaimed Property vault used to store non-monetary items of value (jewelry, coins, etc.) reaches capacity every couple of years. When the vault is full, Treasurer Zweifel hosts an auction, and the proceeds generated from the sale of items from safe deposit boxes are recorded in the name of the safe deposit box owner. If owners or heirs are identified, they receive the entire proceeds from the sale of the items. It is important to note Treasurer Zweifel developed and saw passed a law in 2010 that prohibits the sale of unclaimed military medals – these honors will be held and cared for until returned to the recipient or heir.
Treasurer Zweifel uses a variety of resources to assist in finding the original owners or rightful heirs of Unclaimed Property, and maintains unclaimed funds in trust for the rightful owners or their legal heirs forever. Unclaimed Property never becomes the property of the state. Unclaimed Property holds the contents of abandoned safe deposit boxes for at least one year upon receipt. Silver bars, false teeth, diamond rings, cremated remains, letters signed by President Abraham Lincoln and many other items have been discovered when opening abandoned safe deposit boxes.
State law requires financial institutions, insurance companies, public agencies and businesses to turn over Unclaimed Property to Treasurer Zweifel's office if they have had no contact with the owners for five or more years. Unclaimed Property holds cash property in trust forever. Occasionally, Treasurer Zweifel's office is required by law to auction abandoned non-monetary assets of value (jewelry, coins, etc.) from safe deposit boxes, and records the proceeds from their sale in the owner's names so they or their heirs can claim the proceeds. Proceeds, as well as any other Unclaimed Property, are held forever until claimed by the original owner or heir.
As of August 28, 2010, no military medal or honor held by Unclaimed Property will be auctioned or sold.
There is no time limit for filing claims. Treasurer Zweifel maintains Unclaimed Property in trust for the rightful owners forever. If the property was reported to Treasurer Zweifel as an interest-bearing account, Treasurer Zweifel will even pay the owner up to seven years interest on the cash property.
State’s goal is to expedite all claims and return property to the rightful owners as quickly as possible. Unclaimed Property offers assistance to claimants to avoid unnecessary delays in documentation and payment of unclaimed assets. All services are provided free of charge by Treasurer Zweifel.
Unclaimed money come from many sources. Much of it – about 10% – is from insurance, e.g. someone had life insurance the heirs don‘t know about, or the policy changed after people moved, and the insurance company didn‘t find them. Most of the money is small amounts from old bank accounts.
Unclaimed Property is any financial asset that has been abandoned by the owner for one or more years. Some examples of property that can become abandoned are:
Treasuries of every state deal with unclaimed property passed on to them by the “property holder” organization. Information here can refer to both properties held by government and non-government organizations, so if the state procedure yields no results it is a good idea to contact the organization directly.
Please, check the ‘Property Holder’ column. Have you ever dealt with the organization listed there? Have you lived in that state?
If you have reason to believe that you are the rightful owner of the property listed here you have to find out if you can claim the property under question, and if it’s worth the effort.
All states maintain free-to-access registries of unclaimed properties.
Missouri State Treasury
PO Box 1004
Jefferson City, MO 65102