More than $135,000 in unclaimed property was returned to its rightful owners last week, the first week after publication of the 2011 Unclaimed Property report in the Omaha World-Herald and the Scottsbluff Star-Herald, according to State Treasurer Don Stenberg.
“One of my priorities as State Treasurer is to return as much unclaimed property as possible to its rightful owners. We are continuing to work to achieve that goal,” Stenberg said.
A total of 1,245 claims were verified for payment between March 7 and March 11. In all, more than 3,000 claims were initiated during that week. One of those first callers was a 60-year-old man who discovered three pieces of unclaimed property in his name, totaling $850. He was ecstatic about the discovery, telling staff members that he had been unemployed and had lived on less than that for the past year. Staff members say stories like this one “warm their hearts.”
The Unclaimed Property Division expects another big week beginning March 21 after the annual report is published this weekend in six Nebraska newspapers. The list of 25,000 names, representing almost $20 million in unclaimed property, will be published Saturday in the Beatrice Daily Sun, the Fremont Tribune, the Norfolk Daily News, and the York News-Times. The names will be published in Sunday editions of the Lincoln Journal Star and the Columbus Telegram.
Meghan Aguirre, director of the Unclaimed Property Division, said staff members have responded promptly to inquiries and most callers have been able to reach the division fairly easily during the first two weeks of the publication release. She advises callers to be patient and call back if their calls are not answered promptly. Calls are being taken between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Callers may reach the Unclaimed Property Division at 1-877-572-9688 toll free outside of Lincoln or 402-471-8497 in Lincoln.
Individuals also may search for their property and file smaller claims through the State Treasurer’s Office website at www.treasurer.org Claims under $300 may be filed through the website, while owners with claims exceeding $300 are asked to call the Unclaimed Property Division or complete and mail the printed form found on the website or on the inside cover of the 2011 tabloid publication.
Readers who find their names in the published list can check the treasurer’s website to see if their property is over or under $300. They can check by typing their names in the box on the home page or clicking on the Search for Unclaimed Property link in the left navigation pane. They can also type their names in the box on the Unclaimed Property page at the website.
Aguirre suggests that readers of the tabloid publication look for their own names as well as the names of living or deceased relatives, businesses, and friends. The names are listed by last-known county of residence. All claims are verified by the Unclaimed Property Division staff.
After this weekend, remaining publication dates for the 2011 tabloid include the following:
The 2011 newspaper tabloid includes names of people and organizations with funds reported to the Unclaimed Property Division during the past year; most entries were only recently added to the list. In all, the Unclaimed Property Division of the Nebraska State Treasurer’s Office is holding property valued at more than $100 million for more than 350,000 Nebraskans or former Nebraskans. The average claim is valued at between $600 and $800, Aguirre said.
The Unclaimed Property Division staff will be available to accept claims at booths this summer and fall at the Lancaster County Fair in Lincoln, River City Roundup in Omaha, and the Nebraska State Fair and Husker Harvest Days in Grand Island. The Unclaimed Property Division also will send each county treasurer a list of names of unclaimed property owners in his or her county later this spring. Claims will still be processed through the State Treasurer’s Office.