Unclaimed property consists of bank accounts, wages, utility deposits, insurance policy proceeds, stocks, bonds, and contents of safe deposit boxes that typically have been abandoned for one to five years. There are over 100 types of property which may become unclaimed.
Funds become unclaimed because the company loses track of the consumer, due to an incorrect address or other missing information. By law, these funds are escheated, or turned over, to the Department of State Treasurer for safekeeping. There is approximately $344 million in the unclaimed property fund. You may be one of the North Carolinians who is owed money from the fund.
State law requires financial institutions, insurance companies, public agencies, and businesses to turn over unclaimed property to the state if there has been no contact with the owners for the statutory period of time. This is a FREE public service provided by the State of North Carolina.
There is no time limit for making a claim to the State Treasurer. Owners or heirs can always claim their property. If the owner is deceased, the executor of the deceased person’s estate may claim such funds with proper documentation.
Please be advised that professional finders must register annually with the State. You may contact North Carolina Department of State Treasurer to see if a finder is registered. The finder must also have you sign an agreement that includes information about services to be provided, property involved, and the finder’s fee. In most cases the finder's fee shall not exceed $1,000 or 20% of the value of the property, whichever is less. If the agreement does not contain this information or fees exceed this amount, it may not be enforceable.
The North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority (SEAA) is an agency of the State of North Carolina and is authorized by the General Assembly to administer post-secondary education programs of student financial assistance created under Federal or State law. North Carolina General Statute 116B-7 provides that the interest earnings from the Escheat Fund, minus administrative expenses, be deposited with the SEAA. The law further provides that this money will be utilized to provide grants and low interest loans to worthy and needy North Carolina students in State-supported schools of higher education. In July 2009, interest earnings in the amount of $6,365,997 was deposited with the SEAA for this purpose. In 2009, the unclaimed property program assisted over 88,000 North Carolina students in State-supported schools of higher education.
An escheat is the succession of abandoned property to the State. It is commonly associated with properties that come from an estate of a person dying without a will and without any known heirs. However, this concept has been broadened to include the recovery of any property that results from the failure of a person legally entitled to that property to make a valid claim against the holder of the property within a prescribe period of time. Consequently, the terms escheat and unclaimed property are used interchangeably.
In 1970, legislation mandated that the North Carolina Department of State Treasurer assume responsibility for the administration of the escheat program that was previously administered by the University of North Carolina. The purpose of the program is to:
In accordance with North Carolina General Statute 116B-55, financial institutions, hospitals and other businesses forward unclaimed tangible property, such as coins, jewelry, stamps or silver, to the Unclaimed Property Program after the owners abandon these items and can not be located.
Following at least a one year hold period, these items are sold through a co-operative effort with State Surplus Property. The unclaimed property is sold through a bid process, which can be viewed at www.ncstatesurplus.com, or through retail sales, at the State Surplus Facility located at 6501 Chapel Hill Road, Hwy 54 in Raleigh.
The revenue generated from the sale of unclaimed property is then entered into the database under the owner’s name. The owner would be due this cash amount.
If your claim contains shares of stocks or mutual funds, you have the option of asking us to liquidate your shares at the current market price in order to refund you the cash proceeds from the sale and refunding you the proceeds from the sale; or you can request that the shares be reinstated. Please indicate on the claim form if you wish to have your shares liquidated or reinstated.
If your claim contains shares of stock and choose NOT to sell your shares, North Carolina Department of State Treasurer will request that the shares be transferred to your name. The holder or their transfer agent will issue a statement which will be mailed directly to you, the claimant. Your shares will be held in book entry form.
If your claim contains mutual fund shares and choose NOT to sell your shares, North Carolina Department of State Treasurer will request that the shares be reinstated with the fund in your name. The mutual fund will issue a statement of your account and mail the statement directly to you, the claimant. Your shares will be held in book entry form. If you wish to have your mutual fund shares reinstated, you will need to provide a completed W-9 and your date of birth. A W-9 can be obtained from the IRS’s website at www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw9.pdf
Unclaimed money come from many sources. Much of it – about 10% – is from insurance, e.g. someone had life insurance the heirs don‘t know about, or the policy changed after people moved, and the insurance company didn‘t find them. Most of the money is small amounts from old bank accounts.
Unclaimed Property is any financial asset that has been abandoned by the owner for one or more years. Some examples of property that can become abandoned are:
Treasuries of every state deal with unclaimed property passed on to them by the “property holder” organization. Information here can refer to both properties held by government and non-government organizations, so if the state procedure yields no results it is a good idea to contact the organization directly.
Please, check the ‘Property Holder’ column. Have you ever dealt with the organization listed there? Have you lived in that state?
If you have reason to believe that you are the rightful owner of the property listed here you have to find out if you can claim the property under question, and if it’s worth the effort.
All states maintain free-to-access registries of unclaimed properties.
Unclaimed Property Division
Department of State Treasurer
325 N. Salisbury Street
Raleigh, NC 27603
Phone: (919) 508-1000
For questions about Unclaimed Property, please send an email that includes your name, mailing address and phone number. Questions concerning claims should also include the owner’s name as listed, the property ID number and claim ID number.