Local man struggles to get unclaimed money after learning of bank account he never knew existed

Problem Solvers

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — At 93 years old, Elvin Unruh doesn’t want to spend his time waiting for answers. So when he had trouble collecting unclaimed funds from the Missouri State Treasurer’s Office, he gave FOX4 Problem Solvers a call.

“There were two claims,” Unruh’s daughter Debbie Rabich said. “One claim was less than $50, and all he could tell us about the other one is that it was more than $100.”

Rabich is referring to the customer service representative in the unclaimed property division of the Missouri Treasurer’s Office. The representative did tell her father that the larger of the two amounts was from a bank account.

According to state records, the account also included the name William Palmer.

“It’s got me kind of puzzled,” said Unruh, a retired postal worker who in retirement had managed Palmer’s farmland. 

Palmer, who died about 20 years ago, apparently had listed Unruh on one of his bank accounts.

According to the unclaimed property division, to lay claim to the funds in that bank account, Unruh now has to provide the state with a copy of Palmer’s death certificate and (here’s the tricky part) a copy of a canceled check from a bank account that Unruh had no idea existed.

Making matters even more difficult, the bank, American Sterling, closed its doors in 2009. 

So working for you, FOX4 Problem Solvers contacted the Missouri State Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick to see if he could solve this problem.

“Our goal in the treasurer’s office is return as much of this money as we can,” said Fitzpatrick who was happy to help. “We have set records doing that in the last couple of years.”

Last year, Missouri distributed property from a record 200,000 unclaimed accounts. But, as Unruh has discovered, not every claim is easy to resolve.

“Joint assets are a little more complicated because we want to make sure we are paying it to the right account,” Fitzpatrick said.

However, since the bank holding that account no longer exists, the treasurer said all Unruh needed to do to claim the money is to sign an affidavit attesting that he’s the rightful owner. The Treasurer’s Office is now helping him with that affidavit.

Unruh has no idea whether that old bank account has $101 or $1,000, but with this problem solved he’ll soon find out.

Wondering if you have money waiting for you? Visit Missouri’s unclaimed property division here or Kansas’ unclaimed property site here to find out.

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