Starting this month, a new Department of State Treasurer initiative will dramatically boost the Unclaimed Property Division’s (UPD) ability to speed up the return of millions of dollars in coming months through a free, streamlined process.
“One of the most rewarding parts of my job is returning money to North Carolinians, especially during these economically challenging times of job, food, health and education insecurity,” said State Treasurer Dale R. Folwell.
There is approximately $711 million dollars in the state’s unclaimed property fund — bank accounts, utility deposits, policy proceeds, stocks, bonds, and contents of safe deposit boxes — that typically have been abandoned for one to five years.
By law, these funds are escheated, or turned over, to the Department of State Treasurer for safekeeping until claimed by the appropriate business, nonprofit, individual or heir. Items under $50 may be reported and remitted in a lump amount listed as aggregate.
Folwell credited the North Carolina General Assembly for their help in passing House Bill 1023, which allows the UPD to waive paperwork requirements for claims valued at $250 or less.
With the new process in place, property owners do not need to take any action to receive their money — there are no claim forms to fill out, no searching for papers showing proof of ownership, and no signature pages to complete. Instead UPD will proactively research records and identify qualifying claims of $250 or less. Notification letters will be mailed to claimants, and a check will be issued in six to eight weeks. North Carolina is one of the few states in the country that offers this service.
Folwell said he expects to disburse 25,000 expedited claims worth $1.4 million in the next six months. The long-term goal is to pay out 50,000 claims worth of about $2.8 million every year thereafter.
By law, the State Treasurer’s office safeguards nearly $800 million in money, uncashed checks, forgotten bank accounts, utility deposits, stocks, bonds, other abandoned funds and personal property. Many of those are worth more than $250 and, thus, ineligible for the new, streamlined process.
“There are more items waiting to be claimed than there are residents of North Carolina, so the chances that there is unclaimed property with your name on it are very good,” Treasurer Folwell said. “You may be surprised to find you have money just waiting to be claimed.”
To search for unclaimed property, go to the NCCash.com website and search by name.