MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) – State Treasurer Young Boozer is urging Alabamians to check if they have any unclaimed property. From valuable items to old bank accounts, there could be something waiting for you.
Alabama is currently holding more than $1 billion in unclaimed funds, and some of it could be part of a family treasure you didn’t know existed.
A vault in the basement of the Capitol protects Alabama’s unclaimed valuables.
“Where do these come from? They come from unclaimed property that comes from safe deposit boxes in banks. The banks are required to send that to us after three years of nonpayment of the fee,” State Treasurer Young Boozer said.
Boozer says every year they get deliveries from banks, and every year they try to reunite these items with their owners.
“Coin collections, it could be money, it could be guns, it could be knives, it could be a baseball signed by Babe Ruth. It can also be other things like pictures, books and other articles that are of lesser value,” Boozer said.
While the physical items are part of the property, most of it is financial — old bank account balances, uncashed checks or unclaimed tax refunds.
“The average unclaimed property receipt for the individual is about $1,000, so it is worth your while to check,” Boozer said.
You can check by going to the state treasury’s website and filling out some basic identifying information.
When it comes to the physical items, if they aren’t claimed after two to three years, Boozer says they’re sold at an online auction run. Even if the item is sold, Boozer says the original owner can still get paid.
“Aunt Tilly’s jewelry will be gone, but there will be $1,000 in her name in the account forever, so Aunt Tilly can still claim it or a relative can claim it, but that number stays the same and stays with us forever,” Boozer said.
The state does actively try to contact people who have unclaimed property. Boozer says they send out about 150,000 postcards annually, with about 20,000 going out in the next few weeks.
If you do have any unclaimed property, Boozer says it takes about two weeks for the state to get it back to you.