One more holiday task may pay off when bills come due

Monday, December 17, 2018

Time is running out to get things done in 2018.

You’ll receive plenty of advice on last-minute tasks such as using the money in your medical spending accounts, making charitable contributions, selling stocks or making other financial moves for tax advantage next year.

Add that to last-minute Christmas shopping and holiday and you know why the holiday season can be a little frantic.

One chore might just add a little cheer to your holiday, however, if you’re lucky.

Log into treasurer.nebraska.gov and enter your name; you might just be surprised.

“We encourage all Nebraskans, former Nebraskans and heirs to check our unclaimed property list throughout the year, but particularly this time of year,” said State Treasurer Don Stenberg.

“We currently are holding 23 properties of $100,000 or more for owners from as far away as Tokyo, Japan, to closer to home in Ansley, Nebraska. During the holidays, property owners are equally grateful for smaller amounts, too,” Stenberg said.

“Especially heartwarming this time of year are stories of gratitude from Nebraskans who find property they didn’t know existed, sometimes from family trusts or insurance benefits from deceased relatives or loved ones. Unclaimed property – in large or small amounts – is welcomed any time of the year, and it is one of the best Christmas presents you can give yourself,” he said.

Altogether, the Treasurer’s Office is holding more than $170 million in unclaimed funds for more than 350,000 owners.

To date, the Treasurer’s Office has returned almost $13 million in 2018, paying out 15,772 claims. In the eight years since Treasurer Stenberg has been in office, more than $96 million of unclaimed property has been paid to 126,578 owners. The largest amount returned to owners in a single year in the history of the program was $16.3 million in 2016. The program began in 1969.

Stenberg said he’s taken several steps to streamline the process, automating some processes and employing two researchers to seek out owners of large properties. Banks, businesses and other organizations can now report unclaimed property electronically at no charge.

How can anyone lose track of valuable property?

It isn’t uncommon, according to Stenberg’s office. Uncashed paychecks, refunds, rental deposits, utility deposits, stocks, dividends, insurance benefits, savings bonds, matured CDs and lost IRAs all find their way into the state’s oversight.

Check the Nebraska State Treasurer’s website. Type a name in the search box on the home page or click on the Unclaimed Property tab at the top of the page.

For an amount less than $500, an owner may file a claim online through the website. The owner must include required information.

For an amount greater than $500, an owner may complete the claim form found on the website and mail to the State Treasurer’s Office, Unclaimed Property Division, 809 P St., Lincoln, NE 68508-1390. The form must be notarized.

Call the Unclaimed Property Division at 1-877-572-9688 or 402-471-8497 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., CT, weekdays.

Visit the Unclaimed Property office at 809 P Street in Lincoln or in the Treasurer’s Office in Suite 2005 of the State Capitol. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. An owner should bring a driver’s license and Social Security card.

If filing on behalf of a deceased family member for an amount greater than $500, the owner will be asked to provide documentation to establish legal authority to file the claim including a will, death certificate, obituary notice, and personal representative documents.

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