UTAH (ABC4) – A savings account your grandparents created in your name, a tax refund check you missed because you moved, unpaid insurance benefits, and a forgotten-about safe deposit box – all of these, and more, are examples of lost or abandoned property the state of Utah may be holding on to for you.
As of early February, there is more than $13 million of lost or abandoned property yet to be reunited with its rightful owner in Utah.
In 1954, the Uniform Law Commission began promoting the Uniform Disposition of Unclaimed Property Act. Two years later, Utah adopted its first version of the Act. In 1957, Utah received its first unclaimed property report.
Since then, millions of dollars in lost or unclaimed funds have been reunited with Utahns.
Under current Utah law, all businesses are required to annually review financial records to determine whether they are holding any funds, securities, or tangible properties that have been unclaimed for the required dormancy period, which is typically three years.
But where does that property go after the dormancy period?
That is where the Utah Office of State Treasurer comes in.
Before the funds reach the State Treasurer, businesses are first required to take appropriate measures to avoid remitting the property, such as notifying the owner via first-class mail or e-mail.
According to the Office of the State Treasurer, if a business is unable to make contact with the owner, the property must be remitted to the state by November 1.
How much unclaimed property is there in Utah?
The Office of the State Treasurer tells ABC4 that each year, between $30 million and $60 million in unclaimed property is turned over to the state. Here is a breakdown of how much the Unclaimed Property Division received in recent years:
- 380,221 unclaimed properties totaling $56.4 million in 2019
- 382,349 unclaimed properties totaling $54.8 million in 2018
- 327,000 unclaimed properties totaling $38.4 million in 2017
- 269,561 unclaimed properties totaling $33.1 million in 2016
As of early February, the department says they are still determining the total number of properties reported in 2020, but current reports show there are millions of unclaimed property.
Here is a look at the breakdown of county-by-county unclaimed fund totals from the Unclaimed Property Division:
|County||# of Unclaimed property||Total $ amount of unclaimed funds|
How do you know if you have unclaimed property and how do you access it?
You may not know if you have unclaimed property, but the Utah Unclaimed Property Division has your back.
Every Utah resident – or former resident – is encouraged to search the state’s unclaimed property database online at mycash.utah.gov at least once a year. You can search for property belonging to you as well as family, friends, deceased relatives, and organizations you support.
“We encourage every Utahn to go online at least once a year to find and claim property – and check for family, friends, deceased relatives and organizations you support as well,” Unclaimed Property Administrator Dennis Johnston says. “Even if you have searched for unclaimed property in the past, check again. We might have received additional properties since you last visited our website.”
The Unclaimed Property Division says many claims can be completed entirely online. During the fiscal year 2020 (July 2019 through June 2020), a record-breaking $40.6 million in unclaimed property was reunited with rightful owners.
A graphic from the Unclaimed Property Division, seen below, shows the increase in claims paid out over the last 10 years.
“I am particularly proud of our accomplishments this year. This money has the potential to make a difference in the lives of Utahns during these challenging economic times,” Treasurer David Damschen says.
What happens if those funds are never claimed?
The Unclaimed Property Division says rightful owners or heirs can claim their property in perpetuity, meaning that if you find property belonging to you or a deceased relative, you can claim it, regardless of how much time has passed. If there is more than one heir, the heirs are able to claim their portion of the property.
Despite millions of dollars being reunited with its rightful owners, not all property will ultimately be claimed, according to the Unclaimed Property Division. Some properties are reported to the state without sufficient information to identify an owner.
The Unclaimed Property Division and the Division of Finance conduct a quantitative analysis each year to determine an amount that is unlikely to ever be claimed.
“That money is used for the greatest public benefit and transferred to the Uniform School Fund, minus any unclaimed restitution for crime victims, which is transferred to the Crime Victim Reparations Fund,” the division tells ABC4.
While there have been ongoing discussions of stimulus checks, you could have funds waiting for you just a few clicks away. See if you or someone you know has unclaimed property in Utah by visiting mycash.utah.gov.
How do I claim these funds?
Below are instructions on how to claim property on mycash.utah.gov.