NASHVILLE (AP) - The Tennessee Treasury Department says it returned a record of almost 42,000 claims of unclaimed property in the 2016 budget year.

The department says the claims amount to more than $34 million returned last year, with an average claim of $817. The total of almost 42,000 claims is a 28 percent increase over the previous year.

Unclaimed property is money that businesses and organizations turned over to the state when they can't find the owner. The can include stocks, bonds, gift certificates, checks, unclaimed wages, refunds, life insurance annuities and more. It does not account for real estate or physical items.

Currently, there is $789.2 million in unclaimed property that has not been returned.

The agency attributed the increase in claims to the unclaimed property website,

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