The department shall make diligent inquiry in every instance after departure without authority or death of a patient, to ascertain the whereabouts of the patient or that of the patient's legal heirs or representatives, and shall turn over to the proper person the money or articles of personal property in the custody of the facility to the credit of the patient. Claims to the money or articles of personal property, including claims by the state, may be presented to the department at any time. If a claim other than by the state is established by clear and convincing evidence more than one year after the death or departure without authority of a patient, it shall be certified to the legislature for consideration and the legislature may pay the claim.
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