The Mountain Times

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It’s your money

This is the time of year when credit cards get maxed out and bank accounts shrink. Everyone needs money for the holidays, and for some lucky souls, there is about $59 million sitting in state accounts, waiting to be claimed.

The Unclaimed Property division of the Vermont State Treasurer's is the final repository for forgotten bank accounts, uncashed pay checks, overlooked insurance payouts, and similar oversights. Sometimes the money is in the form of stocks or bonds, even abandoned safety deposit boxes. The state holds onto these unclaimed properties and funds until they are reclaimed by the rightful owners. There are over 260,000 people, businesses, charitable institutions, and estates which have money waiting for them.
According to State Treasurer Beth Pearce, more than 14,000 claims were processed last year and the state paid out more than $4.2 million.

However, readers be cautioned, before sizing up new cars or planning that dream ski trip, the average payout is only about $300. But that's good Christmas money. Even for a tiny claim, it's at least a stocking stuffer.

Besides people, there also businesses, current and defunct, on the unclaimed property list. Both the Killington ski resort and the Pickle Barrel may be interested to know they each have a claim, for under $200. Bianchi Associates has at least $200 coming. The Marble Savings Bank has some claims in excess of $200 outstanding.

Some people's names appear more than once. Two Killington women, Judy and Sigrid Storch, have 38 possible claims, in the case of Judy Storch one of more than $200. A Rutland man, Glenn J. Barnes, has about 25 claims he can make. Rutland resident Mary Ann Zielonko has about 20 claims, with some of them amounting to more than $200.

Even being dead or defunct can't stop a claim from being made. Among those names on the Rutland list are the Amy Jay Estate, with 10 possible claims, and the Charles Rock Estate, with two claims in excess of $200 outstanding.

Busy public servants have some property coming as well. Rutland Mayor Christopher Louras has nine potential claims, most under $200. Killington Town clerk Lucrecia Wonsor has money coming, too.

For some on the list, it's hard not wonder why it's been hard to finding homes for the funds. Killington ski resort hasn't moved. Alderman's Chevrolet can't be too hard to find. Nor the Central Vermont Chapter of the American Red Cross, Casella Waste, CVPS, American Legion Post 31, or the Rutland Herald. (The Herald has seven potential claims, two of them over $200. No way out of a Christmas party this year.)

Reclaiming lost property is simple, and the service is provided for free. There are private companies which charge a fee for "helping" people reclaim lost property, but it is a free public service. The Unclaimed Property Web site has signs to watch out for so you are not scammed.

To make a claim, visit the Unclaimed Property Web page at the State Treasurer's site. Search for your name, keeping in mind that some of this money is being held due to spelling errors in the name of the account. Some claims for under $200 may be filed online for expedited service.

More information, including the rules for filing a claim, can be found at www.vermonttreasurer.gov/unclaimed-property.