Money you don't know about

By: 
Alexis Barker

Alexis Barker

NLJ News Editor

 

Wouldn’t it be nice to fall into some cash or property that you had no idea belonged to you? 

Well, Weston County residents will have the opportunity to discover potential wealth out there with the help of the Jeff Robertson, the administrator of unclaimed property for Wyoming. 

According to Robertson, the state is holding more than $90 million in claims belonging to current or former residents, including $489,000 earmarked for people whose last known address was in Weston County. 

Representatives of the Unclaimed Property Division of the Wyoming State Treasurer’s Office will be at the Weston County Courthouse in Newcastle on Nov. 20. They will set up in the county commissioner’s meeting room from 1 to 4 p.m. to help residents with their claims, according to a Nov. 8 press release from the treasurer’s office. 

“We are visiting the area as part of an outreach mission to help citizens find and claim their lost money,” Robertson said. “If you think you have money in your name or possibly money that belonged to a relative who has passed away, we encourage you to stop by and visit with one of our claims specialists.” 

Robertson said that when State Treasurer Curt Meier took office, he was charged with getting out into the communities more to work with the people. 

“Some people have a hard time understanding the process, and they don’t feel it is worth the effort to do it,” Robertson said. “So we are getting out and going to different counties. We are able to give people the chance to meet with us, and we can walk them through the steps.” 

Most claims are handled through the website, mycash.wyo.gov, Robertson said. Individuals can enter their names in the searchable database to see if their names appear on the list. If it does, then they can determine from the list the type of properties that may belong to them. A video is also available explaining the claims process. 

The money and other unclaimed property, such as stocks, mutual funds and safe deposit boxes, are turned over to the state by various sources, Robertson said. 

“Let’s say five years ago you bought a computer and they promise a $50 refund,” Robertson said. “After five years of dormancy, they have to turn that money over to the state. So for whatever reason that money didn’t make it to you, the company can’t profit off of it and it is your money, so it goes to the state. It is then our job to hold it until forever, until you or your rightful heirs claim it.” 

So, unless you claim your property, it will stay in the unclaimed properties account. 

“The money never goes to the state. It stays in our account as low-risk investment funds,” Robertson said. “The money made off of those is what funds the office. There are no taxpayer dollars involved.” 

And this office isn’t just helping people get their pocket change. 

“We just wrote a check for over $200,000,” Robertson said, noting that there are some big chunks of money out there waiting for people across the state and county to claim it. 

The companies or entities, according to Robertson, will attempt to reach you for a set amount of time before the money is turned over to the state. The time limit is one year for payroll and five years for safe deposit boxes, he said. 

“Even if you have received property in the past, more money is turned over every year,” Robertson said. “Because of this, the money being held by the state has continued to increase.” 

To make a claim, a valid ID is required. Additional documentation may also be required depending on the property in question and complexity of the claim, Robertson said. 

Those planning to meet with the claims team during the Newcastle visit are encouraged to bring proper identification with them. In the event of inclement weather, the session will be rescheduled for Dec. 4. 

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