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Unclaimed Property

What is Unclaimed Property?

All tangible or intangible property that has remained unclaimed by its owner for an extended period of time. This includes but is not limited to wages or commissions, customer deposits, credit balances, gift certificates, credit memos, refunds, etc.

In accordance with the Uniform Disposition of Unclaimed Property Act, Title 55, Chapter 11.1 Sections 55-210.1 - 55-210.30 of the Code of Virginia, property becomes unclaimed when the holder has not had contact with the owner of the property for a specified period of time. After the passage of the dormancy period, if there has been no activity generated by the owner, the property is then considered abandoned. The holder is required to exercise due diligence prior to the submission of the unclaimed property report if there is an address on file with the holder and the property has a value of $50.00 or more. This means that Virginia Tech must mail a first-class mailing to the owner's last known address informing them of the dormant status of the property (Section 55-210.12(e)). The division is required (Section 55-210.13) to publish the owner's names in the newspaper annually. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

The purpose of Virginia's law is threefold...

1.   To protect the property rights of the absentee owner and to reunite the owner with the property

2.   To provide the use of the funds to the Literary Fund for the benefit of all Virginia citizens rather than a chance possessor

3.   To provide the holders relief from any liability

The Virginia State Treasurer's Office, Division of Unclaimed Property.

Remitting the assets to the state means that the owner or his heirs have a single source to check for unclaimed property instead of trying to check with hundreds of banks, companies, etc.

This money is held forever for claims by the owners or their heirs in the Literary Fund.

During 1810, the state Literary Fund was established constitutionally as a permanent and perpetual means for financing public school construction. Administered by the Department of Education, the Fund provides low interest rate loans to localities.

No, unclaimed property is remitted to the state only after two things have taken place:

1.  No activity in the account for specified dormancy periods.

2. The holder attempts to contact the owner.

If these are unsuccessful, then the money is remitted to the state.

The legislature has, since 1981, reduced the holding periods for unclaimed property: from 17 to 5 years for banks and financial institutions, and 7 to 1 year(s) for courts, state and local government issuing checks, etc.

People are becoming more and more transient in today's society; therefore, to increase our chances of reuniting the owner with the property, holding periods have been decreased.

Yes, contents of safe deposit boxes and other safe keeping repositories as well as intangible and tangible property not specifically mentioned in the Act (Session 55-210.2:1 - Omnibus).

No, Virginia is a custodial state. That means owners can always claim their financial assets. There is no time limit on claiming your money from the state. In addition, Virginia is one of the states that now pays interest "...At the rate of five percent or such lesser rate as the property earned while in the possession of the holder..." (Section 55-210.21(c)).

Any business association in possession of property is subject to the Act. This includes but is not limited to banks, insurance companies, utilities, corporations, government agencies, nonprofit organizations.

As stated in Section 55-210.12, Item D. "The report and remittance shall be filed before November 1 of each year as of June 30 next preceding, but the report and remittance of insurance corporations shall be filed before May 1 of each year as of December 31 next preceding." Businesses uncertain as to whether or not the Act applies to them, should contact our office for assistance.

In summary, if a department is holding a deposit or a balance belonging to a customer, after a year, the balance must be reported to OUB for due diligence. If the property remains unclaimed, the balances will be forwarded to the State of Virginia for custody.