Does the state have something of yours? Treasurer visits Lawrence to promote unclaimed property program

After searching her name in a state database, Lawrence resident Kari Wempe reacts when she is informed by State Treasurer Jake LaTurner that she has .60 worth of unclaimed personal property, Friday, July 7, 2017, at the Douglas County Courthouse. LaTurner and other staff members spent several hours with Lawrence residents in an effort to help residents discover their unclaimed personal property. Douglas County is the 23rd county visited by LaTurner and his staff, and they hope to visit all the counties in Kansas by December.

Kansas State Treasurer Jake LaTurner said Friday that his office is holding on to more than $6.9 million worth of unclaimed property in Douglas County, and he encouraged residents to log onto his office’s website to find out if they are entitled to any of it.

LaTurner stopped in Lawrence Friday during his tour of all 105 counties in Kansas to promote the services administered through his office, including the unclaimed property division.

Speaking at the Douglas County Courthouse, LaTurner said that earlier in the day a Jefferson County man had found that he had $23,000 worth of unclaimed property. He also said that last week he notified another man, who he believed lives in Douglas County, that he had more than $50,000 in unclaimed personal property.

The state treasurer’s office is currently safeguarding an estimated $350 million worth of unclaimed property. That includes inactive bank accounts, uncashed checks, stock shares, bonds, dividend checks, insurance proceeds, mineral royalties and utility deposits, according to a press release from his office.

By statute, the basic function of the treasurer’s office is to safeguard and manage all money held by the state in all of its funds. But over the years, in Kansas and in most other states, other programs have been added to the office’s list of responsibilities, including the unclaimed property program.

People can also contact the Unclaimed Property division by calling 1-800-432-0386.

In addition, the office oversees a college savings program called Learning Quest, which is tax-sheltered accounts available for saving for children’s college education.

The office also administers another savings program called Achieving a Better Life Experience, or ABLE, which is tax-sheltered accounts similar to checking accounts with debit cards that people with disabilities and their families can use to pay for living expenses such as education, medical bills and housing without affecting their government benefits.

LaTurner is Kansas’ 40th state treasurer. A former Republican state senator from Pittsburg, he was appointed to the office in April by Gov. Sam Brownback to fill the vacancy created when Ron Estes resigned after winning a special election for the 4th District congressional seat.