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MEMBER SERVICES Q&A: Learn how to claim your property

1124
 2015


— Shanda Hernandez, accounting supervisor

Q: My daughter recently looked at the state’s unclaimed property list and discovered I am owed a small sum that was reported by Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative. How do I claim that money? 
 
A: Lucky you! Banks and companies, such as Bluebonnet, try to return money and items owed to individuals. But when they are unsuccessful, Texas law requires the assets be turned over to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. 
 
Each July, Bluebonnet gives the comptroller a list of unclaimed assets. This year Blubonnet reported 64,835 unclaimed assets. The bulk of those are checks for capital credits — money above what it takes to run Bluebonnet each year — that is returned to co-op members, all of whom are also co-op owners. Sometimes it’s difficult to give this money back because a Bluebonnet member moves away before the check is cut and doesn’t leave a forwarding address. Other times, estates of deceased Bluebonnet members aren’t aware that money is owed. 
 
The comptroller’s office compiles a master list of unclaimed assets from around the state. Bluebonnet’s unclaimed assets are published along with forgotten bank accounts, overpayments, refunds and other types of unclaimed property from other businesses at the website ClaimItTexas.org, where your daughter saw your name. 
 
To see if you are owed money, visit ClaimItTexas.org and click “Search Unclaimed Property.” Click on any search result and “View Details” to get more information and follow the prompts. You may also request a search by phone at 800-654-3463, by fax at 888-908-9991 or by mail at Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, Unclaimed Property Claims Section, P.O. Box 12046, Austin, Texas 78711-2046. 
 
About $4 billion in unclaimed assets statewide is waiting to be claimed, according to the comptroller. There is no deadline to claim forgotten assets, though proof of ownership is required. If property, such as the contents of a safe deposit box, isn’t claimed within six years, the state may auction it on eBay.com. Although your precious gems may be gone, the proceeds still belong to you (the owner), not the state, and there is no time limit to claim those auction proceeds. 
 
Wondering if Bluebonnet (or anyone else) reported unclaimed assets for you? Check out the list at ClaimItTexas.org
 
— Shanda Hernandez, accounting supervisor
 

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