This Veterans Day, Tennessee Treasury Division of Unclaimed Property wants to return military medals to owners

Staff Reports • Updated Nov 11, 2016 at 11:00 AM

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Treasury Department safeguards unclaimed property for Tennesseans, and the Division of Unclaimed Property works every day to return that property to its rightful owners. 

In Tennessee, unclaimed property is usually money. However, if a military medal is found in an abandoned safe deposit box, the medal is turned over to the State Treasurer for safekeeping.

The Tennessee General Assembly established a law to protect military medals for veterans in May 2011. Identifying military medals as “any decoration or award that may be presented or awarded to a member of a unit of the Armed Forces or National Guard,” the law established a clear policy to turn over these medals to State Treasurer for safekeeping until they are claimed by the rightful owners or their heirs.

Treasurer David Lillard Jr. said he is proud of his department’s role in protecting these medals. 

“You cannot put a value on these priceless badges of sacrifices made by our military,” he said. “They belong in the hands of the families of these heroes.”

Since 2011, 10 different pieces of property were turned over, accounting for more than 30 different military honors and decorations. Treasury is holding these medals until they can find the rightful owners or their heirs. Medals currently in keeping include World War II medals such as a Purple Heart, Army Good Conduct medals, dog tags and more.

This Veterans Day, Treasury asks for help in locating the owners of the medals. All unclaimed property, including the medals in safekeeping, is listed at claimittn.gov. The department will also use Facebook and Twitter to share the names of individuals that may have these medals to claim.

Unclaimed property is money that was turned over to the state by businesses and organizations that cannot locate the rightful owners. Every year, millions of missing dollars are turned over, and the Tennessee Treasury Department works to get that money back to whom it belongs. In Tennessee, there is currently $789.2 million in unclaimed property still waiting to be claimed.

Anyone who wants to see if they have missing money may go to the unclaimed property website at claimittn.gov. This searchable online database contains all unclaimed property in Tennessee dating to the beginning of the program. Visit claimittn.gov to search for names and file a claim online. Treasury recommends searching for common misspellings of names and addresses, as well.

In Tennessee, there is no time limit to claim unclaimed property. It is held for the rightful owner or their legal beneficiaries until it is claimed.

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