DES MOINES, IA (12/29/2009)(readMedia)- State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald has a suggestion for Iowans making New Year's resolutions about how to improve their lives. "Along with resolving to eat healthier and get more exercise, why not learn ways to keep your assets from becoming unclaimed property? It could be healthy for your checkbook," Fitzgerald said. The State Treasurer's Office is currently holding over $191.4 million in unclaimed property in 700,000 accounts.
What is Unclaimed Property? Unclaimed property refers to money and other assets held by financial institutions or companies that have lost contact with the property's owner for a specific period of time. State law requires these institutions and companies to annually report and deliver unclaimed property to the State Treasurer's Office. The assets are then held until the owner or heir of the property is found. Common forms of unclaimed property include savings or checking accounts, stocks, uncashed checks, life insurance policies, utility security deposits, and safe deposit box contents.
Tips to Prevent your Assets from Becoming Unclaimed Property "Sometimes people move, switch jobs, change banks and just forget about a safe deposit box, bank account, or pay check. Losing track of your assets is more common than you think," Fitzgerald explained. Listed below are tips to help keep property from becoming lost in the future.
Contact institutions that hold your assets when you change your name or address.
Keep a record of all your insurance policies, bank accounts, stock certificates, rent and utility deposits, and any safe deposit boxes.
Cash or deposit checks promptly.
Respond to requests from financial institutions or companies for confirmation of account ownership.
Use gift cards promptly.
Check to See if you have Unclaimed Property. All Iowans are encouraged to visit www.greatiowatreasurehunt.com and check to see if they have unclaimed assets waiting for them. Individuals may also send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. For those who prefer corresponding by mail, please write to State Treasurer Michael L. Fitzgerald, Great Iowa Treasure Hunt, Lucas State Office Building, Des Moines, IA 50319. Please make sure to provide current name, previous names and addresses.