Unclaimed Property: Frequently Asked Questions
What is unclaimed property?
Unclaimed property consists of money and other personal assets that are considered lost or abandoned when an owner cannot be located after a specified period of time. This includes checking accounts, certificates of deposit, customer deposits and over-payments, gift certificates, paid-up life insurance policies, unpaid wages, commissions, uncashed checks, death benefits, dividends, insurance payments, money orders, refunds, savings accounts, stocks, and proceeds of safe deposit box auctions.
Does unclaimed property include real estate?
No, real estate is not considered unclaimed property.
How does property become unclaimed?
Generally, most property is presumed abandoned if it has been inactive for three years. Wages become unclaimed after one year.
How is unclaimed property accounted for?
All funds received by the Unclaimed Property Unit are deposited into the District's General Fund. Although the money belongs to the owners, who may claim it at any time, the funds may be used in the interim to help defray the District's operating costs.
Why does the District get involved?
- To locate owners and/or their heirs and to protect the property rights of the absentee owner.
- To provide a service to the citizens of the District by offering a central repository for unclaimed property. The District guarantees that the property will be held indefinitely until it's claimed by the rightful owner.
- To give the District use of assets that would otherwise become a windfall benefit to businesses and organizations.
- To provide businesses and organizations relief from any expense or liability associated with retaining the property.
If I have unclaimed property, how do I claim it?
Fill out the inquiry form and we will send you a claim form. You then must complete the claim form and include the documentation requested. Your claim will be processed in the order it was received.
Is there a deadline for making a claim?
No. You can make a claim any time. Unclaimed property is kept in custodial capacity until the rightful owner or heir can be found.
Is there a fee or service charge for claiming property?
No. A growing interest in unclaimed property has created an industry of 'property finders' who charge for their services. However, the District provides this service free of charge.
How can I prevent my property from becoming unclaimed?
- Keep your accounts active;
- Keep an accurate record of all financial transactions;
- Notify all banks and companies of a new address when moving;
- At least once a year, make a deposit or withdrawal on all bank accounts;
- Promptly cash all checks received;
- Contact the company immediately if stock dividends are no longer received; and
- Inform a family member, attorney, or trusted friend of the whereabouts of personal financial records.