We hear about it at least once a year: Millions of dollars in unclaimed property that belongs to you is just sitting in the Louisiana State Treasury. But, how often have you actually checked to see if you're in that number? The state says you should check. Plus, it doesn't cost anything to search the records.
Tens of thousands of dollars flow into the Louisiana State Treasury every year. Say you move, for example, without leaving a forwarding address - your utility deposit ends up in the State Treasury. Maybe your great aunt forgets she opened a savings account for you when you were born. That money goes there, as well.
"Mutual funds, stocks, utility deposits, apartment deposits, tax refunds, health insurance proceeds - we get in thousands of dollars in un-cashed payroll checks," explained State Treasurer John Kennedy. By law, he says if there's been no activity for a certain period of time, a business must turn your money over to the Treasury.
The amount may surprise you. Just recently, through the State Treasury, a former Louisiana janitor hit the jackpot years after he left his job.
"He had $37,000 in stock dividends and over half a million dollars in stock. He had worked for this national company. They gave him stock options. He didn't know about it," explained Kennedy.
In Orleans Parish alone, there's more than $91 million in unclaimed property. In Jefferson Parish, it's $56 million, and in St. Tammany, more than $19 million.
To find out if you're in that number, go to www.latreasury.com and look for the unclaimed property link and search your name and city. In just a matter of minutes, I found a relative with unclaimed money from a savings account going back to 1988, a friend with dividends and a co-worker with miscellaneous outstanding checks worth more than $100. Once he went through the steps to claim that money, it turned out he had more like $450 of unclaimed property. Out of privacy concerns, the web site does not state amounts greater than $100.
"I've returned money to Archie Manning. I've returned money to Gov. (Mike) Foster, to John Goodman," explained Kennedy.
If you thought there's no way you could have unclaimed property, you should at least check, and if you're not in that number today, you could be there tomorrow.