Missouri Treasurer Vivek Malek visited Warren County to discuss the almost $3 million in unclaimed money belonging to residents.
Missouri Treasurer Vivek Malek made a brief stop in Warren County on Feb. 2 to discuss more than $1 billion in unclaimed money that belongs to state residents.
In Warren County, there is more than $3 million in unclaimed property and money in 46,000 accounts, Malek said.
“We are trying to raise the awareness among folks that may have a piece of the $1.2 billion that the state is holding,” Malek said while at the Warren County Administration building. “That is their money, Missourians money. That is not the state’s money. It is not doing anybody any good sitting in Jeff City.”
February 1 is national unclaimed property day, and Malek was visiting counties across Missouri to display a banner encouraging the state’s residents to visit showmemoney.com, the official website that allows residents to see what – and potentially how much – unclaimed money they have.
“It takes less than 15 seconds,” Malek said. “Put in your last name, first name, and hit the search button and you may be surprised that you have some unclaimed property.”
One in 10 Missourians have unclaimed property, according to the treasurer’s office, and the average return is $300.
Some people, though, have significantly more money waiting for them.
“Last year, we returned a million dollars just in one single account,” Malek said. “That was on their life insurance proceeds. The person had somebody as a beneficiary in their life insurance. The person did not know that and the insurance company could not track them down. And so when he ended up with us and we finally found them, look what a pleasant surprise that person got.”
Insurance beneficiaries are just some of the people who could have money waiting to be claimed, but unclaimed property comes to the state in a variety of avenues.
“If you had a credit union or a bank account that was dormant for years that got closed out, that money would end up in unclaimed property,” Malek said. “If you rented an apartment, a security deposit, once you moved and they could not track you down, that money could end up in unclaimed property.”
Malek also said the contents of safety deposit boxes not opened in five years also get turned over to the state, and either the contents, or the money from the sale of those contents, is also waiting to be claimed.
“That money stays forever,” Malek said. “So you can look up your grandparents names, your parents names. It will always be there.”
Those who do find unclaimed property in a deceased relative’s name will need to provide the state with a copy of the death certificate and prove their relationship before they can claim the money.
Jeff Hoelscher, the Warren County treasurer, joined Malek to display the banner and said some of the unclaimed money could still be in the county waiting to be picked up.
“I hold the money here for a little while, and I could still have it because that’s happened before,” Hoelscher said. “They come in and prove who they are, and I give them their money. If it’s after the time period, then I have to tell them to contact the state treasurer.”
Malek urged anyone in that position to take the time to do so.
“The state cannot use this money,” he said. “This is not doing anybody any good. In these high inflation times, I think every bit helps.”
About the author: Jason Koch is the editor of The Warren County Record, and covers local news and government for the newspaper. He has won multiple awards from both the Indiana and Illinois APME and from the Illinois Press Association. He can be reached at 636-456-6397 or at firstname.lastname@example.org