State treasurer wants to reconnect Kansans with $350 million in unclaimed property

State Treasurer Jake LaTurner was in Johnson County to return more than $15,000 in unclaimed property to Johnson County Community College. Photo courtesy of Office of Kansas Treasurer

The Kansas State Treasurer’s Office has $350 million of unclaimed property, much of which is in the form of cash, that it is trying to get back in the hands of Kansans.

The state treasurer’s office handles all unclaimed property for the state of Kansas. Unclaimed property can be anything from an old utility deposit or life insurance policy, or an old safety deposit box. But more often than not, unclaimed property comes in the form of cash.

“Sometimes, when you’re younger especially, you might leave a job and not get that last paycheck, it never makes its way to you,” State Treasurer Jake LaTurner said. “Kansas law says that after five years, if a business cannot find the rightful owner of property, they have to send it to the state treasurer’s office. It’s not our money, it’s our job to help return it.”

LaTurner, became treasurer after the resignation of Ron Estes after he won a seat in Congress in 2017, is in his second year running Christmas Cash, the office’s program  to promote its role in returning unclaimed property. Christmas Cash is one of a few strategies LaTurner is using to connect Kansans to cash his office may be holding for them.

LaTurner said this program is intended to help Kansans at a time of year “when people’s budget is a little extra strapped with the holiday season.”

The typical claim for a person with property to claim is more than $220.

“We thought that this would be a great opportunity for folks to get online, make their claim and hopefully get some money in before Christmas gets here to help people out,” he said.

Kansans can go to kansascash.com or, during the holiday season, visit christmascash.ks.gov to see if they have unclaimed property. People can also receive a direct deposit for their unclaimed property. LaTurner said that Kansans can check for their family, friends, neighbors and coworkers as well.

Organizations and businesses can also benefit. Johnson County Community College just received more than $15,000 in unclaimed property.

In LaTurner’s first year, the office returned more than $26.5 million, breaking the previous record by 12%, he said. So far this year, they’ve returned more than $27 million in unclaimed property.

“We’re on pace this year to beat the most recent record,” he added.

Helping families has also been a rewarding experience as well, he said. For instance, he met a single mother who was struggling to buy Christmas presents for her children. Her late father had a dormant checking account with over $1,500 in it that she didn’t know existed.

“She needed the money really badly,” he said. “Her quote to us was, ‘My dad’s still taking care of me, even after he passed away.’ It was so sweet and just so rewarding to be able to do that.”