Thursday, July 04, 2013

Treasur(y) Hunting

“What? What? who left my sister money?  Why am I not involved?”  My sister asked, the house one again erupting in unbridled speculation concerning my unclaimed mystery funds in the Pennsylvania Treasury.

“Viola,” my son said. “An old lady.  They played checkers.”

“No!” I said, firmly.  “Not true.”

“Canasta, it was canasta,” my son continued.

“NO! No one left me money.  I did not play checkers, and I did NOT play canasta.”

“Then who’s Viola?” my sister demanded.

I sighed. It’s been well nigh a month since I received a confirmation email from the Treasury acknowledging receipt of my Claim Forms, and assuring me that I would be receiving an Alert email when my mystery funds were issued.

But the weeks continue to pass without a word from the North, and my husband has become a tad antsy, not to mention optimistic about my financial prospects, adding to the scant body of available facts to construct some enticing fiction.

Here’s what we know: the state of Pennsylvania claims to be in possession of a sum of money “over $100,” belonging to me and originating from a life insurance company of which we are unfamiliar. My husband has attached his hopes to the shaky foundation of these facts and has all but ceased to worry about the Governmental Furlough in which he’s embroiled, taking to the belief that he’s married to an Heiress.  I, however, am of the mind that it’s all some sort of bureaucratic mix-up and I’ll never see a dime.

Admittedly, the known facts do lend themselves to speculation, which has run rampant, particularly since the uncovering of what my boys regard as a Key Lead:

“So, did you befriend any elderly folks?” my husband asked, a week or two ago, in continuation of a line of questioning that has been ongoing since the official Filing of the Forms.  “Ever offer assistance to a childless spinster? Work for an aging philanthropist? Think, think!”

“No, I don’t think so…well, I guess there was Viola M. Plank,” I made the mistake of allowing, tentatively.


“An older church lady who used to write me letters.”

“Now we’re getting somewhere!” my husband triumphed.

“This is the best clue we’ve had yet,” my son agreed.

After peppering me with questions on what I really knew about Ms. Plank—her marital status, occupation, and—ahem—lifespan potential—the boys felt like they had heard enough to convince them that I was her sole heir.  Although I assure you this is NOT the case, the speculation served only to buoy the specter of mystery already aloft.

Which brings us to yesterday.  I determined that sufficient time had elapsed to warrant an online status check into my case, as had been suggested in the Treasury’s email.  Logging into their system with the provided credentials, I was shocked and dismayed when my claim ID was rejected.

Stunned, I retyped the number and resubmitted.  No dice.  I tried back-door work arounds and page reloads, but the result was the same: the Treasury was unaware of my pending windfall. 

Not to be deterred, I found a phone number for the Treasury, and spoke to a Live Person who found my records and personally assigned herself to my case. She indicated that she could wrap the whole matter up within a day, although she did not tip her hand as to what we may be looking at as a bottom line. 

Before closing out the faulty website, I availed myself of the Treasury’s posted suggestion to search for missing funds in other states.  To my delight, I have now discovered that my current state is in possession of some additional dormant dollars, albeit minus the mystery factor: at some point in the early 90s, I evidently overpaid my student loans by an amount “under $50.”

Inspired by my success, other family members began searches for latent coffers as well.  Thus far, their efforts have come up fruitless, which has only led to their constant urging that I begin planning for my coming fortune. 

Right now, I’m thinking I’ll just take my hundred bucks (should it ever reach me), look up Viola, and meet her for a nice weekend of checkers and canasta. 

Public Service Announcement:  The Pennsylvania Treasury alone is holding 1.9 Billion in unclaimed property.  It's easy and fun to check the states you have lived in to see if they are holding any of YOUR property--let me know how it turns out ;)

Looking for more Haiti posts?  They will return next post!

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