According to the Nevada State Treasurers Office, they’ve got over $900 million in Nevada unclaimed property. So, for those of you who lost a round of gambling at Caesar’s or the Rio and you’re feeling grouchy, you might want to see if you’ve got any worthwhile treasures waiting for you so you can get back some of that money you lost.
But it’s not exactly money you’ll find when you search unclaimed property in Nevada—it’s property…stuff that can be worth a little…or a whole lot!
According to Mark Ciavola, the Deputy Treasure for Unclaimed Property, here are the items you just might find when searching for unclaimed land:
- Tokens & mementos
- Scrapbooks full of pictures—perhaps your first birthday pics!
- Diamonds and pearls
- Rare Coins
- Property & land
Of course, some of that gets tossed in the trash while being inspected for their value. This means that your first boyfriend’s love letter to you might be read and thrown out by this very department. Sorry about that.
But Ciavola says they come along with some real gems, “We came across a letter that belongs to a young gentleman in another state whose grandmother wrote him a letter on his first birthday. She passed away. He set the letter aside, hoping to find the owner simply because, “I know that if my grandmother had written me a similar letter, I would love to have that today.”
Find Unclaimed Property: Finding the Rightful Owners
Nevada’s department of unclaimed property is located inside the Grant Sawyer Building in downtown Las Vegas, and it’s a small office with a small team. To find unclaimed property, it takes a few steps, creativity and some perseverance, but for these guys trying to find the owners in reverse, it can be tough.
But dreams can be made inside the tiny office—although it’s difficult. It’s inside the small office that dreams are often made.
Ciavola says that finding owners to unclaimed land and property in Nevada is tough. Companies frequently hand over very little information on the owner. Ciavola might get just an address or someone’s name. And now, there’s close to $900 million in the state’s coffer waiting to be claimed.
Apparently, the largest amount owed to one person is $3 million…but so far, there have been no claims made…and no owner found.
Unclaimed Land: How Do They Advertise?
Technically, the department must advertise in the newspaper by law, any names of people who are entitled to unclaimed property and cash. It’s not a cheap ad to place. The department had a 30-page ad in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, that is extremely costly per ad- going over 100,000 thousand dollars, and that ad will only have property owners who had the property turned over since the last ad placement, meaning that many property owners might never see their “goods” in the paper.
And in today’s age, do people read the paper? Most read online, so the State Treasurer sent the legislature a bill to amend these requirements of print advertising, with the goal of adding online advertisements to help get these properties snatched up.
In the meantime, the money is used by the state and according to Ciavola, $38 million went into the general fund, and $20 million went out to claimants.
There is however, a group of people who make money finding heirs. The probate court tries to minimize the “heir finders’” fees to only 10% as some companies charge huge fees for finding your unclaimed property.
The bottom line— Ciavola feels there needs to be a better way to get the word out on these unclaimed properties.
Until then, there’s someone in Nevada missing out on $3 million. We’re glad it’s not us!