Bismarck – If you’re looking to boost that holiday bank account of yours in order to spend a little more money on gifts, finding out could take you less than five minutes and you’ll never have to get up off the couch!

But how is this possible you may ask…welcome to the wonderful world of unclaimed property…and it’s a big world…try over 30-billion dollar’s worth of unclaimed property is just sitting out there nationwide waiting to be reunited with its owners.

Here in North Dakota, unclaimed property is handled by the department of Trust Lands…and they tell me they have a lot of it…

“We have about 50-million dollars in the common Schools Trust Fund that’s available for the citizens of North Dakota, for the rightful owners” said Susan Dollinger, the unclaimed Property Administrator with the North Dakota Department Of Trust Lands.

But what kind of treasures are out there waiting to be claimed?

“We have securities, we have stocks, bonds, mutual funds, land, just about anything, abandoned bank accounts”. said Dollinger.

Another item sitting out there waiting to be collected are old savings and war bonds…North Dakota currently has 300 of them worth $16,000 dollars. Officials also tell me there are also at least two claims out there worth over a million dollars.

Now checking if you have unclaimed items out there could not be simpler…just visit the unclaimed property section of the Trust Lands website…enter your last name…city and zip code and viola!  – – Instant results.

John Arnez searched for his name and was pleasantly surprised with what he found and how easy the process was.

” Every few years, I’ve checked it, here and in other states as well, umm, and I’ve never had anything show up, so then to see my name pop up it did kind of surprise me and then the amount of money was also somewhat surprising, it’s not a huge amount, but it’s not a tiny amount either” said Arnez.

Now one thing you should know is to be weary of companies contacting you claiming they’ve found unclaimed property, those usually come with a hefty finders fee or it’s simply a scam. Never trust a call or email asking you to send them money.

It’s much easier to spend a little time researching for yourself…it’s a little work that could change your life…forever.

According to the Department of Trust Lands, if your name is in the system, there is at least 50 dollars worth of unclaimed property waiting for you.

The typical claim usually takes six to eight weeks to go through the process from start to finish.

Also we know North Dakota is full of transplants, in that case you can visit “missing money-dot-com” and search if money or property in any state is waiting for you.