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States Seize Citizens' Property to Balance Their Budgets

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The 50 U.S. states are holding more than $32 billion worth of unclaimed property that they're supposed to safeguard for their citizens.

Unclaimed property consists of things like forgotten apartment security deposits, uncashed dividend checks and safe-deposit boxes abandoned when an elderly relative dies.

Banks and other businesses are required to turn that property over to the state for safekeeping. The problem is that the states return less than a quarter of unclaimed property to the rightful owners.


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