It’s for citizens who want to know if they have any unclaimed property.
Frederick, Md (KM). If you’re planning to visit the Great Frederick Fair this week, you may want to stop by the booth set up by the Maryland Comptroller’s Office. The agency says it has information on unclaimed property, some of it may belong to you and you don’t know it. “I have one-billion–that’s “B” as in boy–that’s a thousand million dollars that’s owned by Maryland citizens in the unclaimed property fund. And I’m very aggressively trying to reunite Marylanders with their money,” says Comptroller Peter Franchot.
That unclaimed property could be life insurance policies, stocks and bonds, bank accounts, wages, security deposits and contents of safe deposit boxes. These items have been forgotten over the years. Financial institutions, utilities, insurance companies and other corporations are required to report these accounts that have been unclaimed after three years.
“The Frederick Fair, of course, is a famous fair around the state. We know a lot of people go to it. We anticipate returning $40,000 to $50,000 to Marylanders who stop by and let us look their names up,” says Franchot.
The Comptroller’s Office says it has set up booths at county and state fairs around Maryland to try to get people to come forward and check to see if they have any unclaimed property. “Very successful and it’s a lot of fun and it’s very satisfying. And I’m glad that my employees are as outwardly focused as they should be on customer service,” Franchot says.
At the Maryland State Fair in Timonium earlier this month, the Comptroller’s Office says 331 visitors found out they own a total of more than $385,000, and one person had a windfall of $28,919.
Franchot says it’s easy for citizens to find out if they are the owners of unclaimed property. “We have almost a million accounts up on a website. We just access it,” he says.
If you don’t think that you or your family has any unclaimed property coming back to you, Franchot says it’s worth checking it out with the Comptroller’s Office when visiting the Fair this week. “There are lots people who have life insurance policies. They don’t tell their family members about it. They pass away. The insurance companies don’t actively get out to find folks that have passed away. They’d like to hold on to that benefit that they owe people,” he says.
For those who can’t make it to the Great Frederick Fair, which runs through Saturday, they can still find out if they are on the unclaimed property list by going on line to www.marylandtaxes.gov. They can also call the Comptroller’s office at 1-800-782-7383.
By Kevin McManus