The 2020 Maryland Unclaimed Property insert hits publications statewide beginning Wednesday, May 27. As is tradition, Comptroller Peter Franchot parodies a pop culture theme to bring attention to the list and reunite Marylanders with their unclaimed funds and miscellaneous items that are held by the State.
This year’s theme is based on the popular reality show, “The Bachelor,” and features the Comptroller wearing a tuxedo and offering a rose, posing as “The Matchelor.”
“You don’t have to watch multiple episodes to see if you end up in our rose ceremony – just visit our website and see if your name is on the list,” said Comptroller Franchot, spoofing the reality TV show’s theme. “Who knows? Maybe you’ll find your match!”
This year’s 180-page Unclaimed Property inserts, which will run in more than 30 newspapers throughout the state, lists 80,247 accounts worth more than $63.9 million. Individuals and businesses can also search the online Unclaimed Property database. In total, the agency has more than 1.35 million accounts with a value of more than $1.65 billion in unclaimed property.
In Fiscal Year 2019, the Comptroller’s Office honored nearly 44,000 claims totaling more than $71 million. Since 2007, the Comptroller’s Office has returned more than $775 million in unclaimed property to its rightful owners.
The Unclaimed Property accounts include personal property and cash amounts from banks, insurance companies and financial institutions that could not be returned to their owners. Any property that goes unclaimed is eventually handed over to the State.
The Comptroller’s Unclaimed Property division will help Marylanders find the items among the old bank accounts, stocks and bonds, security deposits, jewelry, insurance benefits, collectibles, valuable documents and other contents of safe deposit boxes.
Due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, the campaign will not be attending major fairs and festivals to help reunite Marylanders with their lost funds and items.
The agency will also forgo producing the customary spoof video based on the year’s pop culture theme, instead relying on social media and traditional media coverage to help publicize the list. In previous years, Comptroller Franchot has appeared as twins in “Unclaimed Property Brothers,” and as “Sheriff Franchot,” “Sherlock Franchot” and “The Most Interesting Man in Maryland.”
Along with the Unclaimed Property insert, which is published annually as required by law, and in-person outreach, the Comptroller’s Office searches tax records and Motor Vehicle Administration files to try and locate property owners.
Financial institutions, insurance companies and corporations are required to notify the Comptroller’s Office of any property that has gone unclaimed or inactive for more than three years. This is usually wages, bank accounts, stocks or dividends, life insurance policies or contents in safe deposit boxes.
When the Comptroller’s Office receives physical property that isn’t monetary, the items are appraised and then auctioned off, as required by state law, on eBay. The proceeds are held for the owner in perpetuity.
Funds are available to be claimed at any time with no statute of limitations and, in most cases, are not subject to taxes. Since the eBay program started in July 2006, the Comptroller’s Office has sold 9,534 items, appraised at $2.35 million. The items sold resulted in $2.73 million for owners’ accounts.
The Comptroller urges anyone who locates their name or that of a family member on the list to contact the office at 410-767-1700 (Central Maryland) or toll-free at 1-800-782-7383 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how to reclaim their lost property.