State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli says a record amount of unclaimed funds, totaling $347 million, were paid out to individuals and organizations in the state’s last fiscal year. This new record surpasses the previous year by $33 million.

Currently, there is $12.5 billion in lost or forgotten money that is still waiting to be claimed.

Banks, insurance companies, utilities, investment companies and many other businesses are required by state law to surrender inactive accounts to the Comptroller’s office. These accounts are known as unclaimed funds.

Inactive bank accounts hold 33 percent of the unclaimed funds. After three years of inactivity banks are required to send a letter to the account holder and in some cases post a notice in the local newspaper as well. If the attempts are unsuccessful the account is turned over to DiNapoli’s office for safe keeping.

Unclaimed funds are held indefinitely until the rightful owner submits a claim. There is no cost to file a claim but individuals do need to provide proof of ownership.