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WV Treasurer breaks down unclaimed property returns by county

Kanawha leads state unclaimed property totals

CHARLESTON – The state’s most populous county again led West Virginia in unclaimed property returned. Surprisingly, residents of some smaller counties also saw a handsome collective return, says State Treasurer John Perdue.

John Perdue
WV State Treasurer

Kanawha County residents received a total of $2.3 million, more than quadruple the amount of the next‐highest county, Monongalia. Monongalia residents checked in at $515,161. Kanawha is routinely the leader in unclaimed property returned to its citizens.

“We’re happy to provide state residents with a report of unclaimed assets we distributed, county by county,” Treasurer Perdue said. “We strive to be as transparent as possible in our dealings with our residents, most of whom need all the windfalls they can get in these tough times.”

Unclaimed property returned totals take into account the following: cash; stock dividends left uncashed; proceeds from abandoned stock that the Treasury is obligated by law to liquidate; left‐behind safe deposit box contents; and a small amount of interest paid, up to three years on certain assets turned over to the Treasury.

Residents due unclaimed property have become unintentionally separated from their financial assets. Unclaimed property does not refer to real estate. “Holders” of unclaimed property, such as banks and other businesses, are required by law to report assets left behind with them, so that Treasurer Perdue’s office may go about finding rightful owners.

Tucker County, 7,000 people strong but with the largest average claim figure in the state, saw only 16 claimants receive approximately $94,000. Wayne’s third‐highest statewide total is boosted by a $385,000 stock liquidation.

The graphic at right displays how all the state’s counties fared in returned unclaimed property:

Though the numbers do illustrate outlier counties, for the most part totals hold close to population form.

Kanawha’s population has slid from 193,000 in the 2010 U.S. Census to an estimated 186,000 today. Berkeley, with the seventh‐highest total, has seen its population shoot from 104,000 in 2010 to an estimated 114,000 today. Second‐highest total Monongalia grew from 96,000 to 104,000 in that same time period. No other West Virginia county has a population greater than 100,000, according to census numbers.

Eight of the 10 counties in the top 10 have populations of 50,000 or greater. Wayne County, at 41,000, is one of the two anomalies, along with Fayette County (44,000).

Treasurer Perdue recently announced that his office’s Unclaimed Property Division had returned $12.4 million in fiscal year 2017, though the county totals add up to roughly $7.9 million. That’s because some lost assets are sent to people who have moved out of state.

In some cases, family still left here help guide the out‐of‐state payments. In others, as with $1.2 million in “reciprocal” agreements, the Treasury sends the assets to the state of last known address. Those assets are sent to the state’s unclaimed property program, in hopes that that state can find the rightful owner.




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