More than $16.3 million was returned by the Nebraska State Treasurer’s Office to owners of unclaimed property in 2016. The total is the largest amount returned in one year in the history of the program, State Treasurer Don Stenberg said today.
The $16,348,497 returned in 2016 exceeds the previous calendar year record of $14 million set in 2008. A total of 16,984 claims were paid in 2016. The largest claim paid was for two trusts valued at a total of $1.2 million for an Omaha couple. The average claim in 2016 was $962.
The state’s unclaimed property program began in 1969.
“I am very happy for the Nebraskans, former Nebraskans, and heirs who received unclaimed property from the Treasurer’s Office in 2016. And I am very thankful to the staff of the Unclaimed Property Division who put impressive effort into locating owners, helping owners file claims, and verifying ownership so that more than $16.3 million could be returned to rightful owners to be used as the owners see best,” said State Treasurer Stenberg.
Stenberg said the addition of two full-time researchers to the Unclaimed Property staff contributed to the record numbers in 2016. The two researchers devoted their time to identifying and seeking out owners of larger properties, while other specialists in the division concentrated on responding to claims filed by individuals through the website, mail, telephone, outreach events, or in person.
“I want to commend the Unclaimed Property staff members for their hard work, diligence, and perseverance in locating hard-to-find owners and helping them file claims. I receive many compliments for the friendliness, patience, and knowledge exhibited by the staff,” Stenberg said.
Stenberg also noted that as more Nebraska companies engage in global business, the unclaimed property staff is now searching for owners not only from across the United States, but also internationally. In 2016, the Treasurer’s Office paid claims to owners throughout the United States as well as in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.
“Our success in 2016 truly has been a group effort involving the entire staff. Our researchers worked determinedly to contact owners and complete claims. The rest of our claims staff pitched in to locate owners and initiate claims as well in between responding to callers and visitors to our office and owners who filed claims online or through the mail,” said Meaghan Aguirre, director of the Unclaimed Property Division. “We are looking forward to achieving similar results in 2017, and we can only hope to return another $1 million claim in 2017 like we did this last year.”
Stenberg reminded owners that they may search for unclaimed property anytime at treasurer.nebraska.gov. In instances in which property is $500 or less, owners may file claims online through the Treasurer’s website.
Altogether, the Treasurer’s Office is holding more than $170 million in unclaimed funds for more than 350,000 owners. Common forms of unclaimed property are uncashed paychecks, refunds, rental deposits, utility deposits, stocks, dividends, insurance payments, savings bonds, matured CDs, and lost IRAs.
Ways to search for unclaimed property and file claims include the following: