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SALT LAKE CITY — Utah received $54.8 million worth of unclaimed properties last year. By the end of June, the state had returned a record-breaking $29 million to unsuspecting residents of the Beehive State.
In total, the state’s Unclaimed Property Division has returned nearly $285 million in unclaimed cash and still has hundreds of millions more just waiting to be collected by Utahns.
When a business owes someone money but is unable to contact that person for three years, the money goes to the Unclaimed Property Division. That unclaimed property can come from sources like dormant bank accounts, overpaid medical bills, uncashed checks, safe deposit box contents and unpaid insurance benefits.
The unclaimed property is usually money, but the division also regularly collects items from abandoned safe deposit boxes that can be claimed. The division has a vault full of items like coins, baseball cards, art and photographs, division spokeswoman Brittany Griffin noted. Some of the items are periodically sold at auction, and the proceeds remain available to be claimed by the rightful owner, she said.
“There are many ways to lose property," Unclaimed Property Division administrator Dennis Johnston said in early 2018. "People might move and forget they had a deposit with the utility company, or they might be beneficiaries of life insurance policies they didn’t know existed. Checking to see if you or your friends and relatives have lost property is simple, easy and something everyone should do. It’s easier than playing the lottery, and the odds are better.”
One in five Utahns has lost money, and Johnston encourages residents to visit mycash.utah.gov and check for both themselves and their family, friends and deceased relatives.
“Our mission is to reunite lost property with rightful owners, and our team strives to consistently reach for record levels of unclaimed property payouts,” Utah Treasurer David Damschen said.
The division has been especially successful in returning unclaimed cash to its rightful owners this year because division employees started reaching out to people who had money to claim instead of trying to draw those people into the division’s website and wait for them to claim it on their own.
“Even if you have searched for unclaimed property in the past, you should check again,” Damschen said. “We might have received additional property since you last visited our website.”
If an individual finds they have unclaimed cash, they can begin the process to claim it on the division’s website. Individuals can also submit a claim for properties of deceased relatives if they can prove they are the rightful heir.
For more information or to search for any unclaimed cash, visit mycash.utah.gov or call 801-715-3300.
Editor's Note: A news release from the Utah State Treasurer initially claimed that Utah's Unclaimed Property Division received $38.4 million worth of unclaimed properties last year. The article has been updated to reflect that the number is $54.8 million.