State Treasurer Don Stenberg announced today that his office will sponsor a booth at the 2011 Nebraska State Fair to help Nebraskans recover unclaimed property and to provide information about the Nebraska College Savings Plan Trust and the Long-Term Care Savings Plan administered by his office.
Specialists in the Unclaimed Property Division of the State Treasurer’s Office say they are holding money for one in every five Nebraskans. Given those odds and last year’s fair attendance figures, more than 61,000 fairgoers could find unclaimed property at the State Treasurer’s booth in the fair’s Exhibition Building.
Unclaimed Property specialists will be available from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. throughout the 11-day fair, which begins Friday at Fonner Park in Grand Island. State Treasurer Stenberg encouraged fairgoers to stop by the booth to check for any unclaimed property being held in their names, or in the names of their friends and family or in the names of their businesses.
Unclaimed property consists of cash and other personal assets that are considered lost or abandoned after an owner cannot be located for a specified period of time. Among the more common forms of unclaimed property are commissions, court deposits, dividends, dormant accounts, gift certificates, insurance payments, lost IRAs, matured CDs, money orders, payroll wages, rebates, and refunds. Unclaimed property does not include tax refunds, land, real estate, or vehicles.
“We are making every effort to return unclaimed property to the Nebraskans to whom it belongs,” said State Treasurer Stenberg. “The Nebraskans we contact are happy to receive money they didn’t know they were missing and are putting these unexpected funds to a variety of good uses.”
At the Treasurer’s Office booth, fairgoers will be able to look through books of records for their names and submit claims electronically with help from staff members. Claims usually are processed and money disbursed in two or three weeks, Stenberg said. In all, the State Treasurer’s Office is holding more than $100 million in unclaimed funds for more than 350,000 Nebraskans or former Nebraskans. So far in 2011, the Unclaimed Property Division has paid out more than $5 million to more than 11,500 claimholders.
In addition to unclaimed property searches, fairgoers also will learn more about the Nebraska Educational Savings Plan Trust (NEST), managed by First National Bank of Omaha. The State Treasurer is trustee of NEST, which includes four separate 529 college savings plans. The four plans in the trust are the NEST Direct College Savings Plan, NEST Advisor College Savings Plan, the TD Ameritrade 529 College Savings Plan, and the State Farm College Savings Plan.
Children and teens who stop by the NEST display can have their photos taken in a mortarboard as a fair souvenir.
At the Treasurer’s booth, fairgoers also will be able to obtain information about the Long-Term Care Savings Plan, a savings program created by the Legislature in 2006 and administered by the State Treasurer. The savings plan allows Nebraskans to save up to $185,850 without having to pay Nebraska income tax on the interest and to deduct contributions from Nebraska income taxes, up to $1,000 per person filing individually or $2,000 per couple filing jointly.