February 1 is National Unclaimed Property Day. Utah reunited $36 million in unclaimed cash with rightful owners in FY2021.
Utah Treasurer Marlo M. Oaks today announced that the Utah Unclaimed Property Division received $66.7 million in lost property at the end of 2021. This property comes from sources like dormant bank accounts, overpaid medical bills, uncashed checks, safe deposit box contents and unpaid insurance benefits. The announcement coincides with National Unclaimed Property Day.
“We encourage Utahns to check mycash.utah.gov every year to see if they have lost money to claim. Take five minutes this National Unclaimed Property Day to search for property belonging to you, your friends and your relatives,” Treasurer Oaks said. “We receive tens of millions of dollars in new unclaimed property each year, so even if you have searched our online database for unclaimed property in the past, check again.”
When a business owes money to an individual it cannot find, it remits those funds to the state after three years of non-contact with the owner. Property holders remitted 503,648 new cash and tangible properties to the division by the November 1 annual reporting deadline, along with the names and last-known addresses of owners.
“One in five Utahns has lost money, and they probably don’t know it. I had no idea I had lost money until I became state treasurer and learned about an overpaid medical bill,” Treasurer Oaks said. “There are many ways to lose track of property. People might move and forget they had a deposit with the utility company, or they might be the beneficiary of a life insurance policy they didn’t know existed.”
The division uses a variety of methods to return unclaimed money to rightful owners, including implementing aggressive outreach campaigns, leveraging technology and forging partnerships with charities, local government leaders and the news media.
“We have an exceptional track record. During the last decade, we have more than quadrupled annual claims payments,” Unclaimed Property Administrator Dennis Johnston said. “However, despite our innovations and accomplishments, we still take in more property each year than we can return. Every Utahn should go online at least once a year to find and claim their property – and check for family, friends, deceased relatives and organizations they support as well.”
The division launched an initiative last year to reunite unclaimed money with rightful owners in Utah’s most economically disadvantaged communities. In partnership with the Utah Automated Geographic Reference Center, the Unclaimed Property Division created a tool to search unclaimed property data by census tract, county, senate district and house district. One use of the tool—matching unclaimed property data with corresponding census tract median income data—enables the division to focus more strategically on areas of the state with the greatest need.
Unclaimed property is usually money, but the division also regularly receives items from abandoned safe deposit boxes that can be claimed. Some interesting items the division is working to reunite with rightful owners include eight large bags full of collectible coins, military medals, art and photographs.