The state of Utah is sitting on millions of dollars, and a sliver of it could be yours.
The Utah Unclaimed Property Division received $66.7 million in lost property during 2021, stemming from dormant bank accounts, overpaid medical bills, uncashed checks and unpaid insurance benefits. That adds to the $370 million balloon that the division has acquired over the years.
Most of the time it’s money. But sometimes the contents of an abandoned safe deposit box can be claimed. That includes items like collectible coins, military medals, art and photographs — even a set of dentures.
The division made the announcement on Tuesday, which in addition to being the start of Black History Month, the Chinese New Year, National Dark Chocolate Day and Robinson Crusoe Day, happens to be National Unclaimed Property Day.
Utahns can search their name using the state’s website, mycash.utah.gov, and file a claim if they have unclaimed property or cash. There’s a good chance — 20%, to be exact — that your name is in the database.
“One in 5 Utahns has lost money, and they probably don’t know it. I had no idea I had lost money until I became state treasurer and learned about an overpaid medical bill,” Utah Treasurer Marlo M. Oaks said in a press release.
When a business owes money to someone it can’t find, after three years it hands the money over to the state, which then adds the owner’s name to its database.
Last year, the state returned $36 million in unclaimed funds to Utahns. Typically it returns about half of the money acquired each year, says Brittany Griffin with the Utah Office of State Treasurer, but it’s inevitable that some owners will never check the database.
Sometimes companies report unclaimed property that doesn’t have an owner, and there are likely millions that will never be claimed.
Each year, the office donates a portion of that money to the state’s Uniform School Fund.
“Take five minutes this National Unclaimed Property Day to search for property belonging to you, your friends and your relatives. We receive tens of millions of dollars in new unclaimed property each year, so even if you have searched our online database for unclaimed property in the past, check again,” Oaks said.
The division also urged Utahns to check the database on behalf of their friends, family, deceased relatives and organizations they support. Sometimes it’s a few dollars sitting in an old bank account — sometimes it’s an inheritance from a long, lost relative.
“In some cases it can be life changing,” said Griffin.