HOUSTON - You may have an old tax refund or uncashed paycheck waiting for you that you don't know about. The Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts says they reunite one in four Texans with unclaimed money every year.
The Comptroller's office says they receive $600 million to $700 million in money and property owed to 3.5 million to 5 million people a year, but can't find them to pay it.
"My daddy had some T.W. Clemons Operating, a mineral royalty. And another one says it's not disclosed, so I don't know what that is from. Another one that was a mineral royalty again," said Sherri Brown.
Brown says after her father, Leroy Brown, passed away, the www.ClaimItTexas.org website showed he was owed more than $700 in unclaimed funds. But she says she was having trouble collecting it as the executor of his estate.
"Got the papers notarized, mailed them back to them, and have spoken to a couple of people there. They told me they have everything they need. But then after you get off the phone with them, they send you an email saying you need one more thing," said Brown of her effort to collect the funds.
We reached out to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts and helped Brown collect the checks.
Bryant Clayton, Assistant Director of the Unclaimed Property Division of the Comptroller's office, says reuniting Texans with unclaimed funds usually goes very smoothly. The funds may have been sitting unclaimed for years because the owner may have moved or can't be found. But once someone claims it, he says the payout often only takes days.
"It could be things like a utility deposit that you might have forgotten about. It could be a payroll check you never deposited. It could be a customer refund," explained Clayton.
Other sums come from undelivered tax refunds, dividends, insurance payments, trust distributions, or money left in old bank accounts.
To see if you have unclaimed money with the state, go to www.ClaimItTexas.org and search for your name or the name of someone who died but made you an heir.
You may need to show identification, proof of address, or a social security number to file a claim. If you're an heir, you may need the death certificate or will.
"We do claims for a penny. The largest claim I've ever seen was over $12 million, which of course was an outlier. The average claim we see is about $1,000," said Clayton.
If you've lived in other states, you can check www.MissingMoney.com to search most states' databases. California, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Kansas, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington and Wyoming have independent databases you'll need to search separately.