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Unclaimed property now easier to access

ND Department of Trust Lands

The state of North Dakota holds more than $107 million in unclaimed property – that is, money or property owed to individuals.

That unclaimed property is managed by the Board of University and School Lands.

And many people who have unclaimed property are not aware they have it.

The 2021 Legislature made some changes, to make it easier for people to claim it.

State Trust Lands Commissioner Jodi Smith said the changes make the process more seamless.

"For example, we have something called 'FastTrack,'" Smith said in an interview. "You enter your information into the system, and it matches the information we have. I don't even have to touch it. The check is automatically mailed out to you."

Smith said there are some complex situations, such as estate plans, where the Department needs more information. She said that’s become more simplified.

Smith said some of the amounts are relatively small, while others are more meaningful. She said in one instance, a gentleman called to inquire about stocks the Department was holding for him.

"In talking to him, I was interested in 'why the rush' - what is the importance of getting this money out," Smith said. "He's a North Dakota citizen, and his wife had recently been diagnosed with cancer. They money that we were holding was going to help pay for her cancer treatment."

Smith said in another case, a woman filed for unclaimed property, which was a family estate.

"All she knew is that it was over $5000," Smith said. "When we issued the check, it was over $500,000."

Smith said Gov. Doug Burgum jokes that unclaimed property is "like the lottery 2.0."

Smith said if you want to make a claim, either go to the Website unclaimedproperty@nd.gov – or you can e-mail unclaimed@nd.gov.