Everyone could use a surprise #039;windfall#039;

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 19, 2005

State Treasurer Kay Ivey wants Alabama residents who have unclaimed property in her office, to find themselves with a windfall.

Windfall is a good way to describe money that may belong to you that is sitting in the state's coffers doing you, and your family, little good.

Through Ivey's office, you can go through the Unclaimed Property division and find out if you are a lost heir, owed a refund for something in your past or maybe over paid an insurance premium.

That unclaimed property has been held by the owner for a specified time but has been turned over the state.

The state then safeguards it and makes a concerted effort to return the funds to the rightful owner, at no cost to the owner.

Unclaimed money belongs in the hand of its rightful owners or heirs and we want all those who are due this money to have it returned to them as quickly as possible.

Keep in mind, it can also be companies or organizations who have unclaimed property.

We do agree with Ivey that if anyone calls you and says they can get you your property be careful because there is likely a fee; generally a percentage of the total they find for you. If you're contacted by one of these "headhunting firms," simply hang up and call the Unclaimed Property division of the State Treasury. Their services are free of charge.

We would encourage everyone to call Ivey's office toll free at 888- 844-8400 if you find that you have unclaimed property. The Treasury maintains a web site that is searchable by name and county, so visit www.treasury.state .al.us.com and click on the unclaimed property button.

You never know what might be waiting for you.