“We’ve got money that belongs to people in every nook and cranny in Alabama,” words from State Treasurer Kay Ivey that should be music to the ears of Alabama residents. 18,000 residents of Lee County alone have almost $5 million from abandoned safe deposit box contents which have been collected by the State as Alabama unclaimed property. These, along with financial assets from dormant bank accounts, languishing stocks and bonds, uncollected salaries, uncashed checks, etc. are required by the National Unclaimed Property Law to be turned over to the State after 3-5 years of going unclaimed.
Residents of other Alabama counties have even more unclaimed funds coming to them, of course. The total Alabama unclaimed money in the Treasurer’s Office is almost $400 million right now and the pile of unclaimed funds is getting bigger each year because most people aren’t even aware that the State has their lost money from forgotten assets. “Many people are simply unaware that unclaimed property exists in their name,” says Deputy Treasurer Anthony Leigh. In the 2007 fiscal year, $55.6 million AL unclaimed funds from abandoned assets were collected and only $23 million reunited with Alabama unclaimed property owners.
Alabama, like most other states keep residents’ unclaimed money in perpetuity until the rightful owners or their next of kin show-up. “There is no time limit by which the individual must come forward to claim property. individuals claiming property for themselves must present identification and proof of address or social security number depending on the information submitted by the business that turned the property over to us,” Leigh says. That’s a comforting thought for people who have their hands too full to be searching for unclaimed property right now, but with the poor economy and high costs of living in the U.S. right now, doing an unclaimed money search right now might be a wise move.