KENNEDY: If You’re From Louisiana, It’s More Likely Than You Think That You Own Unclaimed Property

In her 96 years, Metairie native “Marjorie Summers” (not her real name) has lived through the Great Depression, World War II, the Kennedy assassination, Watergate and the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Cars had a running board and a rumble seat back when Marjorie was born. Now we’re test driving cars that literally drive themselves.

A lot has changed in nearly a century. It’s not surprising that Marjorie would lose track of a few things along the years. In fact, I just returned more than $2 million in Unclaimed Property to her.

Marjorie’s experience is both common and uncommon – and let me explain what I mean by that.

Roughly one in six individuals has Unclaimed Property in the Louisiana Treasury. That means it’s very likely that you or your mom, aunt, cousin, sister, brother or childhood best friend has lost money that has been turned over to the state. It’s probably just not $2 million.

The average refund is $900. That’s not enough to buy a place in Hawaii, but it will certainly buy lots of groceries.

Every day, we get in payroll checks, tax refunds, life insurance proceeds, utility deposits and much more. We put it in the Treasury, and we hold onto it until it’s claimed.

Insurance salesman used to go door to door peddling their policies. Your grandmother might have purchased one and forgotten to tell you. The proceeds could be in the Treasury.

A computer hiccup could corrupt your address on a mailing label. If the postman can’t deliver a check to you, it comes to us.

We received unredeemed savings bonds last year totaling nearly $500,000. Some of them date to the 1940s and 1950s. The folks who bought them might not be alive still, but their heirs are.

Other times, money finds its way to us because of forgetfulness. That’s what happened with Marjorie.

The Great Depression of the 1930s impressed upon Marjorie the importance of saving money. Her father lost his job, causing his family to struggle financially. All these years later, Marjorie remembers her mother fretting and worrying about the tough economic times.

Marjorie was a good steward of her finances; she just struggled with the bookkeeping as she aged. She started dumping her mail, still unopened, into boxes. When you don’t open your mail, you tend to accumulate Unclaimed Property.

Fortunately, concerned friends enlisted the help of a personal trustee who sorted through Marjorie’s 18 boxes of unopened mail and searched the Unclaimed Property database. The trustee found more than $500,000 in cash and $1.6 million in stock assets.

Marjorie’s Unclaimed Property was one of the largest in our department’s history. I was happy to return it to her.

It’s absolutely free to search for Unclaimed Property. It’s even free to claim it. Visit www.LATreasury.com to find our search engine. You can also give us a call at 1-888-925-4127. You never know what you might discover.

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