TRENTON – The Unclaimed Property Administration, a division of the State Department of the Treasury, returned a record amount of money to New Jersey residents during the last three years.
During Fiscal Year 2014, the UPA paid a record $125.1 million in claims, eclipsing last year’s record of $107.5 million. The number of claimants also reached a record 70,762, up from 61,978 the previous year. During Fiscal Year 2012, the UPA paid out $95 million, which was a record at the time, to 55,206 claimants.
The State recently surpassed the $1 billion mark in funds reunited with rightful owners during the program’s history.
“Millions of dollars in personal assets become lost or abandoned every year,” said State Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff. “The purpose of the Unclaimed Property Administration is to protect the property rights of all New Jersey residents. By securing and safeguarding these funds, we can reunite them with New Jerseyans so they can reclaim what is rightfully theirs.”
Some of this year’s claims included:
- $1.3 million received by a Hudson County family for an estate claim;
- $553,000 received by a Passaic County man mostly for certificates of deposit;
- $424,000 received by an Ocean County man for bank checks,
- $377,000 received by a Bergen County woman mostly for healthcare policy benefits and bank accounts.
“Governor Chris Christie has made it a priority to reunite families with money that belongs to them,” said Steven Harris, Administrator of the Unclaimed Property Administration. “So, we have accelerated our efforts to advertise and raise awareness with the public about unclaimed property that people may have been unaware of or simply forgot about over the years.”
The UPA has developed various initiatives designed to reunite owners with abandoned property. These initiatives include mass mailings, media campaigns, and their presence at state fairs, community centers, and other public locations throughout the year. The UPA also advertises newly abandoned property in newspapers throughout New Jersey twice a year.
The State never takes ownership of unclaimed property. It merely holds the property in perpetuity until the owner or heir can be located. The State pays interest on all unclaimed property for the time it holds the property in trust.
To conduct your own search for lost property, go to: http://www.unclaimedproperty.nj.gov.