One Billion Dollars in Unclaimed Property Waiting for Owners

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Panama City - There is more than a billion dollars in unclaimed property sitting in state of Florida's vaults. Some of it might just be yours.

Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater says he wants citizens to claim what is rightfully theirs. But in many cases people simply don't realize the money is sitting there waiting for them. "The growth of unclaimed property coming to us is still growing at forty percent. Our ability to return at twenty-three percent. We don't want the vault to get bigger. We want the vault to get smaller. We want to be more effective," said FL CFO Jeff Atwater.

WJHG contacted Atwater's office for a list of local people and businesses with unclaimed property, the list was sixty pages long! Like so many on the list, Ted Chipps had no idea he had unclaimed property. We knocked on his door to share the good news, "Did you know before we called that you had unclaimed property from the state? "No!" said Ted. "Well I'm interested in learning more about this, are you?" asked NewsChannel 7's Meredith TerHaar, "Yes!" said Ted.

We start by logging onto the Bureau of Unclaimed property's website, The site makes searching for a claim very simple, with eight easy steps. In Ted's case the property was in the name of his late wife Martha who passed away in 2005. He is her legal heir. After just a few minutes Ted has a claim number and his form will soon be in the mail from the state.

"Ted I have more good news," said Meredith. "More good news?! Could you come back tomorrow at the same time?" asked Ted. "Because of documents we have obtained from the state I can tell you the good news that you are due $1,958.20!" said Meredith.

Ted was thrilled with how easy the process is and he's excited to help family members find out if they are also owed money. "Go to the website and check out all your relatives. You may be surprised, I was surprised, I had no idea," said Ted. So what are you waiting for? Log on and find out if you too have some treasure buried in the state vault.

There is no statute of limitation on unclaimed property, meaning it will never be turned over to the state. And come July 1 you can file any claims under one thousand dollars totally online. If the property is in the name of someone who has passed away, you will need the documentation to prove you are the rightful heir such as marriage and death certificates.