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Returns, interest high for unclaimed property

CHARLESTON — State Treasurer John Perdue’s Unclaimed Property Division has returned $13.2 million to state residents this fiscal year, a number soon to be boosted by recent claim applications.

Following a $1.8 million check presentation to a Bluefield-area man on Feb. 28, claims filed on the Treasury’s electronic claims platform shot up 55 percent over the next two weeks. Other types of claims are also up, including paper forms printed from the office website and claims generated by calling the division’s toll-free number, 1-800-642-8687. The Treasury website is www.wvtreasury.com.

The Feb. 28 check is the largest the state has ever presented.

More claims should be filed following the publication of “Discover,” which will be published on three successive Thursdays – March 19, March 26 and April 3. Inserted in each county’s largest newspaper, the insert is a list of approximately 13,000 names of people due unclaimed property.

These rightful owners have been unintentionally separated from one financial asset or another, the definition of unclaimed property. Examples include forgotten utility deposits, left-behind safe deposit box contents and life insurance benefits. Real estate does not play a part.

The high-water mark for unclaimed property returns in a fiscal year is $17.7 million, set in 2018. The current amount, influenced by media coverage and the insert publication, may break that figure. The fiscal year ends June 30.

“The goal is not to break a record, but to make people aware that we may be holding their assets and we want to return them,” Treasurer Perdue said. “Apparently, that outreach was effective with the February check presentation and I’m sure the upcoming insert will also help. Of course, if we break our record, that would be great too. The more people who are reunited with their money, the better.”

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