Unclaimed property fund interest available
The 2017 Kansas Legislature, desperately seeking ways to avoid a state tax increase this year, reportedly is looking at making a withdrawal from the Kansas State Treasurer’s Office’s Unclaimed Property Fund.
While the property and cash in the fund belong to Kansas citizens, the state may have some claim to the interest earned by the account.
If the state can legally put to work the interest earned from this fund, then it should.
Unclaimed property held in this fund for Kansas citizens includes such lost and misplaced valuables as inactive savings and checking accounts, uncashed checks, stock shares and bonds, dividend checks, insurance proceeds, mineral royalties, utility deposits, safe deposit box contents, etc., none of which belong to the state.
The rightful owners of the unclaimed property have moved or changed names due to marriage, for example. The state has taken possession of the unclaimed property and is charged with finding the rightful owners of the property.
From 2007 to 2017, the value of the unclaimed property fund being held by the state of Kansas for Kansas citizens has grown from an estimated $190 million (in 2007 when Lynn Jenkins was state treasurer) to an estimated $360 million today.
Making a claim on the unclaimed property is free and easy for Kansas citizens. There are no fees involved in searching for or claiming cash and property.
And, as then-State Treasurer Jenkins said in 2007, “Kansans do not pay to claim money or property that is rightfully theirs.’’
Kansans should call the state treasurer’s office to ask if the state is holding any property or cash for them. New money and property is received each year, according to the state treasurer’s office.
Most of the time, Kansans just forget about, or don’t think about, the unclaimed property fund, or they move and their forwarding address gets un-reported.
For many years, up until the mid-1980s, the state published the names of unclaimed property owners, by county residence, in the official county newspapers.
This method was effective in matching up people with their property and valuables.
Ever since this method was stopped, however, the value of the unclaimed property fund has grown and grown.
The State Legislature now has estimated the average value of unclaimed property that is returned to its rightful owners each year by the state treasurer’s office and suggests the state could make a withdrawal from this fund’s interest earned without jeopardizing any efforts to return any amount of the unclaimed property itself to its rightful owners.
Maybe the publicity from this story will prompt more Kansans to check into whether the state is holding any money or assets for them. The number to call is 1-800-432-0386 (toll free) or 785-296-4165.