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Unclaimed property returns up 31 percent

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Unclaimed property returns are up 31 percent for the first six months of Missouri’s fiscal 2012, which began in July. During the first half of the fiscal year, State Treasurer Clint Zweifel’s office has returned a record $23.5 million from 64,000 accounts, according to a news release.

Among the property returned during the six-month period is $6.1 million to a Kansas City-area woman in December. The return is reportedly the largest single unclaimed property returned in U.S. history, the release said.

 Since January 2009, Zweifel’s office has returned $106 million to more than 310,000 account holders and cut wait times for unclaimed property in half. The office does not charge for the return of state property, the release said. More than 51,000 paperless claims have been paid, and more than 42,000 people have signed up for e-mail notifications.

State law requires financial institutions, insurance companies, public agencies and other business entities to turn over assets to the treasurer’s office, if there have been no documented transactions with the owners for at least five years. Types of unclaimed property include cash from bank accounts, stocks and bonds, unclaimed insurance policy proceeds, government refunds or contents of abandoned safe-deposit boxes. Real property such as land, houses or vehicles, is not handled by the treasurer’s office, which maintains $600 million in unclaimed property. The treasurer’s office maintains a searchable online database for unclaimed property.

In the southwest region, which includes Greene County, there is $32 million in unclaimed property in more than 361,000 accounts, the release said.

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