OPINION: Unclaimed property is a real issue

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By Jimmy Higdon

In an ongoing effort to promote transparency in state government, Kentucky has taken steps to identify owners of unclaimed property. It may seem like a minor or non-existent issue to many, but the reality is that Kentucky’s unclaimed property fund contains assets with a combined value of nearly half a billion dollars.

According to Kentucky State Treasurer Allison Ball, unclaimed property generally consists of “payroll checks, unclaimed safety deposit boxes, old life insurance policies, stocks, or vendor checks that have remained unclaimed by their owners after several years.” After a certain period of time — usually three years, according to Ball — the assets are turned over to the Kentucky State Treasury.

Thanks to the hard work of the Treasury, there are easy steps to take to find potential unclaimed property. The Treasury’s website, www.treasury.ky.gov, has a host of resources, including a link to search for unclaimed property, along with the regulations and statutes in pertaining to unclaimed property.

To search online for unclaimed property, you can visit www.missingmoney.com to search a national database. The Missing Money website also has a host of helpful resources to explain more about the search process.

I encourage you to explore these systems to see if you or your family members have outstanding unclaimed property.

However, be aware there are also scammers that try to use unclaimed property to make money off of unknowing victims.

You should never be asked to send money in order to claim unclaimed property.

If you have a question about the legitimacy of unclaimed property, please reach out to the Kentucky State Treasurer’s Office at (502) 564-4722.

I would also like to remind everyone that we are quickly approaching the time of the year for Relay for Life events.

If you are interested in participating one of these events, find one near you by visiting relay.acsevents.org. According to Relay for Life, more than 5,000 events take place in more than 20 countries. Do your part to fight cancer and sign up today.

If you have any questions or comments about these issues or any other public policy issue, please call me toll-free at 1-800-372-7181, on my home phone at 270-692-6945, or email me at Jimmy.Higdon@LRC.ky.gov.

You can also review the legislature’s work online at www.lrc.ky.gov.