FRANKFORT — The Kentucky treasurer's office is holding onto an estimated $600,000 worth of unclaimed property that may be owned by Lincoln County residents, and Treasurer Todd Hollenbach wants to return as much of it as possible to the rightful owners.
Hollenbach, Lincoln County Judge-Executive Jim Adams and Stanford Mayor Bill Miracle are planning to enlist the help of knowledgable Lincoln County residents in tracking down the people who own the unclaimed property.
Every year, the state treasury takes in about $30 million to $40 million in unclaimed properties. The properties range from real estate to bank accounts, stocks and bonds to silver bullion, even odder items like guns and stamp collections.
The state is able to track down some of the owners of the property, many of whom don't even know they have property that was often left to them by a relative, but a lot of the stuff just sits, unclaimed, Hollenbach said.
In an effort to change that, Hollenbach has initiated the Treasure Finders program, which works with local officials and citizens in Kentucky counties to find people the state has been unable to locate.
"We weren't satisfied with the percentage of money that was going back to the rightful owners," Hollenbach said. "We decided we could make some real headway if we could take advantage of local knowledge."
Hollenbach and county officials have set a tentative date in January for a telethon, when Lincoln County volunteers will gather to sift through a list of names provided by Hollenbach's office of people who own unclaimed property.
There's more than $300 million in unclaimed property currently being held by the treasurer's office, just waiting for the right owners, Hollenbach said.
While some people may be owed property worth only a small amount, sometimes the payouts are huge.
Hollenbach said when he took the Treasure Finders program to Adair County, one man wound up discovering he had multiple claims that added up to more than $100,000.
"Needless to say, he was very happy," Hollenbach said. "Some of these people do feel like they've won the lottery."
The Treasure Finders program "doesn't cost the taxpayers a dime" and helps put money back in the hands of Kentuckians, potentially providing an economic boost, he added.
"We don't make any pretense that this is a gift," Hollenbach said. "It's their money — we're just putting it back in their hands."
If you would like more information about the Treasure Finders program in Lincoln County or serving as a volunteer, call Lincoln County Judge-Executive's Office at 606-365-2534 or Stanford City Hall at 606-365-4500.
For more information about state Treasurer Todd Hollenbach's office, visit www.treasuryky.gov.
To search an online database of unclaimed properties for property that may belong to you, visit www.missingmoney.com.