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State Treasurer Riley Moore on Saturday presented an unclaimed property check valued at more than $150,000 to the family of Debra Handy, a former West Virginia teacher who had passed away leaving the funds in a retirement account.

“It’s my pleasure to reunite this family with such a large amount of money,” Treasurer Moore said. “Debra Handy devoted her career to educating and helping raise the next generation of West Virginians. This retirement money rightfully belongs with her family.”

A lifelong resident of War, Handy worked for more than four decades with the McDowell County school system. After her death in 2017, the funds in her teacher’s retirement account were eventually turned over to the Treasurer’s Office as unclaimed property

The Treasurer’s Office returned a total of $151,196.33 to her family. Debra's daughter, Willa – who is also a teacher – attended Saturday’s presentation on behalf of the family.

Willa intends to use the funds to further her graduate education and continue to pursue the same career path as her mother.

“This will help me to finish my doctorate,” Willa said. “My mother taught for 47 years, and though I'm not sure I will make it that long, my goal is to get educated and this will definitely help me.”

What is Unclaimed Property?

Unclaimed property can include financial accounts or items of value in which the owner has not initiated any activity for one year or longer. Common examples include unpaid life insurance benefits, forgotten bank accounts and unused rebate cards. (While the title includes the word “property,” it does not however include real estate.)

West Virginia’s unclaimed property laws protect the public by ensuring money and property owed to them is returned to them, rather than remaining permanently with financial institutions, business associations, governments and other entities.  The Treasurer seeks to reunite the unclaimed property, including uncashed paychecks, stocks, or safe deposit box contents, with its owner.

Nationwide, nearly 33 million people in the United States – one in every 10 – are estimated to have unclaimed property available for them to claim.

How Can I Find Unclaimed Property in My Name?

West Virginians searching for lost financial assets can go to, then click on the large Unclaimed Property “Search” button to the right of the page under the heading, “Are We Holding Your Money?” In addition to finding property, the website will also help you track a claim.

A demonstration of how to use the Unclaimed Property search site is available on the Treasury’s YouTube page, at:

To search for lost financial assets outside West Virginia, visit or

The Treasury does not collect state taxes. Visit the The West Virginia State Tax Department for assistance.

West Virginia State Treasurer's Office
1900 Kanawha Boulevard
Capitol Complex Building #1, Room E-145
Charleston, West Virginia 25305
304-558-5000 Toll Free: 800-422-7498
Hours: 8am-5pm (ET)

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