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Looking for treasure in all the right places

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By Maryellen Garrison

With holiday bills mounting, many of us wish we could find money we lost, forgot about or didn’t know we had. Finding lost valuables, such as insurance policies and unclaimed money or property is easier than you might think.
The Kentucky State Treasury has more than $150 million in unclaimed property and money. Banks, insurance companies and other financial entities turn this money over to the treasury when they cannot locate the owners. You can search for any unclaimed valuables on the Kentucky State Treasury’s website, www.kytreasury.com/. The website has information about how to claim any lost property that you may find. If you don’t have Internet access, you can request a search by contacting the treasury at 1-800-465-4722.
If you think you may have unclaimed valuables in another state or have an unclaimed tax refund from the federal government, you can search for that money on either missingmoney.com or www.unclaimed.org. These free sites can connect you with the state and national organizations holding unclaimed property.
Insurance companies often have many unclaimed life insurance policies because the beneficiaries do not know they exist. Insurance companies are not obligated to turn this money over to a government agency unless they know the policyholder is deceased. Unfortunately, no national database exists to keep track of unclaimed life insurance policies.
You can find out about whether you’re listed as a beneficiary on a life insurance policy by going through the deceased person’s paperwork to look for any insurance policies or transactions, such as a statement, bill or interest paid on a recent tax return. Speak with the deceased person’s financial advisers and current employers to determine if they had any knowledge of any life insurance policies that the person may have had. Check the deceased individual’s mail for up to a year for any policy statement or bill.
Whether you decide to look for lost property or not, you may be contacted by someone who wants to help you find lost money for a fee or a percentage of the lost property. These “money finders” are not illegal, but the services they provide are things you can find on your own for free with just a little effort and time.  Tips for finding money in surprising places   
Source: Bob Flashman, UK extension professor for family resource management

Educational programs of the Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of race, color, age, sex, religion, disability or national origin.