DES MOINES, IA -- State Treasurer Michael L. Fitzgerald was pleased to present a check for over $3,500 from the Great Iowa Treasure Hunt to the First United Methodist Church in Independence on Tuesday. “It is my pleasure to return over $3,500 to First United Methodist Church from the estate of a generous member of the Church,” Fitzgerald stated. “There are many ways that we work to get money back to the rightful owners. In this case, when the money came to the Great Iowa Treasure Hunt, because the individual willed her estate to the church, they were able to claim it.”
Treasurer Fitzgerald wants all Iowans to check the Great Iowa Treasure Hunt website at greatiowatreasurehunt.com for lost treasures. “Unclaimed property isn’t just for individuals,” Fitzgerald said. “I encourage everyone to search for their local churches, schools and businesses. We are continually adding names to our database. Currently, we have over a million names with 4,945 of them in Buchanan County alone.”
When a name is reported to the treasurer’s office, a letter is sent to the last known address and the name is posted on the website. The executor of the estate found the funds on the website and notified First United Methodist Church. “Our church is fortunate to receive this money,” said Pastor Scott Meador. “The extra funds will allow us to continue our work of making disciples and sharing God’s love.”
The Great Iowa Treasure Hunt program has returned over $167 million in unclaimed property to more than 406,000 individuals since Fitzgerald started it in 1983. Corporations, business associations, financial institutions and companies across the nation report millions of dollars in unclaimed property to the state treasurer each year. Common examples of unclaimed property include money in forgotten savings and checking accounts, uncashed insurance benefit and payroll checks, lost stock and dividends, abandoned safe deposit box contents, gift cards, utility refunds or deposits.
Check the unclaimed property database to see if the Great Iowa Treasure Hunt has property belonging to you. Simply visit greatiowatreasurehunt.com to begin your search.