SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- People in Illinois now have a faster, easier way to find out if the state is holding any of their unclaimed cash or property.

Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs (FRAYR'-iks) on Tuesday announced changes to the claims process. They include allowing people to file claims electronically an automated review process that allows for quicker approval and payment of lower dollar amount claims.

Frerichs says his office is the custodian of cash and property valued at more than $2.9 billion. He hopes the changes will encourage more people to visit the unclaimed property website and claim what is theirs.

The property includes insurance policy proceeds, lost bank accounts and safe deposit boxes that have been forgotten. Private entities surrender the items after trying for at least five years to locate the owners.