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Stake Your Claim

We recently received a letter in the mail that sounded too good to be true: we had “unclaimed” property that belonged to us. But the letter, from the Kentucky State Treasury, was not too good to be true. We did, in fact, own an unclaimed, small sum of cash.

WHAT IS UNCLAIMED PROPERTY? According to the Kentucky State Treasury, it includes “personal property or financial assets—such as abandoned savings and checking accounts, noncashed checks, and travelers’ checks” that have been turned over to the state, usually after about three years.
WHY IT’S UNCLAIMED Most of the time, according to the state treasury, the owner simply has forgotten that the property or account exists. If the owner has died, sometimes the heirs don’t know about the assets.

HOW TO CLAIM IT If you think you have unclaimed property, visit the Kentucky State Treasury Web site at Click on the “Unclaimed Property Search” tab at left. On the next page, click on the “Unclaimed Property Search” link in the article’s title, which will prompt you for a last name.

If your name appears in the search results, you may have unclaimed property. To prove ownership and fill out the required forms, call the Kentucky State Treasury at (800) 465-4722 or fill out the appropriate forms on its Web site.

SARA PEAK is a freelance writer with expertise in finance and wealth management. Have a money question? E-mail us at

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