According to the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA), the United States now has $42 billion in unclaimed funds. Unclaimed property programmes exist in every state in the United States, including Texas, as well as U.S. territories and several international countries. Prior to the establishment of unclaimed property programmes, many of these organisations that retained property would keep it permanently, and unclaimed property would eventually become the property of the state. The programmes’ goal is to create a centralised system that allows property owners to retrieve their assets.
Unclaimed property registries have shown to be quite helpful in assisting owners in locating their property. Every year, they return around half of the unclaimed property to its rightful owners. While the monies restored to the original property owners can be substantial, the loss of funds to the state is little; unclaimed property accounts for less than 1% of a state’s funding in most states.
The unclaimed property programme in Texas began in 1962. Since then, more than $2 billion in unclaimed property has been returned to its rightful owners by the state. The quantity of property returned to the rightful owners has increased since these services were available online, making access to information on unclaimed property easier as well as making it easier for people to claim unclaimed property. In fiscal year 2017, the state paid out more than $281 million in claims to the property’s rightful owners.