Claims totaling more than $1.2 million were paid in January to Nebraskans and former Nebraskans through the Unclaimed Property Division of the Nebraska State Treasurer’s Office, Treasurer Don Stenberg said today.
Of the $1,215,851 total, nearly $560,000 was paid out in cash to rightful owners, and more than $655,000 was paid out in stock and safekeeping items, Treasurer Stenberg said.
One Lincoln woman received $60,404 in cash and items from a safe deposit box valued at more than $232,000. A Colorado man, who was born in Nebraska, received $60,404 in cash and items from a safe deposit box valued at more than $217,000. Another claim exceeding $101,000 to an Omaha couple contributed to the unusually large amount of money being returned to Nebraskans in January, the Treasurer said.
In other large claims, two Omaha brothers each received more than $33,000 from an abandoned checking account owned by their uncle who died in 2008. He had never married and had no children. Other large claims paid out in January included $15,937 to a family trust in Overton, $12,851 to a business in Omaha, and $10,281 to a Lincoln resident.
“This large amount of unclaimed property being returned to rightful owners is the result of my staff’s concerted effort to return as much money as possible, as expeditiously as possible,” Treasurer Stenberg said. “We also now have assigned a staff member to research larger properties and reach out to owners who may have no knowledge of these resources. This new service has proven very effective in reaching owners.”
In all, the Treasurer’s Office is holding more than $125 million for more than 350,000 Nebraskans and former Nebraskans, Treasurer Stenberg said. New names added to the unclaimed property database in 2012 will be printed in the annual unclaimed property report to be published in 16 Nebraska newspapers in March and April, as required by law. Treasurer Stenberg urged Nebraskans to check for their names in the tabloid when it appears in their local newspapers.
Nebraskans also can check for their names in the unclaimed property database at any time by going to the Treasurer’s website at www.treasurer.org. A search box for unclaimed property appears on the home page.
“Many times we hear very interesting personal stories when we return unclaimed property,” Stenberg said.
For example, the two Omaha brothers, both in their 50s, who each received $33,834 from their deceased uncle, said their uncle had taken care of them as youngsters and was still taking care of them decades later. The money came from the uncle’s checking account, on which he listed his nephews’ names, without their knowledge.
“This is really unexpected. I was shocked, completely shocked. My brother was shocked as well,” said the younger brother. “We grew up at our grandparents’ house. They raised us, and we never knew our father. So our uncle was kind of like a father. He took us fishing. He went to all of my football games. At times, there was nobody there for me but him. He just did the things that our father never cared to do and then some.”
In later years, the brothers and uncle talked every night on the phone. “He was such a funny character,” the younger brother remembered. “He would say, ‘You don’t have to waste your time talking to me every night.’ But if I didn’t happen to call, he would ask, ‘What happened to you last night, kid?’ Our conversations would go on and on.”
The younger brother said he and his uncle had a heart-to-heart talk shortly before the uncle died. “He told me, ‘You deserve every good thing in life. You have been a good man. You have taken good care of me,’” the brother said. “I thanked him for everything he did, and he said he should have done more.”