What is Unclaimed Property?
According to the Michigan Department of Treasury, millions of dollars in lost or forgotten assets were considered abandoned and unclaimed by banks or the companies entrusted with them. The state estimates that one in every 10 people has unclaimed property.
What is unclaimed property?
Many businesses have unclaimed property as a result of their regular operations. Any asset, whether it is something physical or intangible, that remains unclaimed for a specific time becomes unclaimed property.
Common examples of unclaimed property include financial assets such as unpaid wages, uncashed checks, inactive checking and savings account, proceeds from abandoned safe deposit boxes, stock certificates, and life insurance policy payouts. Abandoned and unclaimed properties are turned over to the Michigan Treasury Department, the custodian of millions of dollars in lost or forgotten assets.
For example, if an insurance company cannot locate the beneficiary of a life insurance policy, it will hold on to the money for three years. At the end of that period, the company will turn the funds over to the state.
The state does not take ownership of the funds, but rather serves as custodian. Under Michigan law, the state will hold the funds indefinitely, releasing money only to the rightful beneficiary.
How does someone claim property?
In the last five years, more than $400 million has been paid to claimants, according to the Michigan Department of Treasury. Individuals can search for unclaimed property on the Michigan Unclaimed Property website at www.michigan.gov/unclaimedproperty. When using the website, users are prompted to enter basic information about themselves and/or their business. Once the unclaimed asset is found, select “claim” and the website will instruct the user to begin the claim process, which may include entering additional information and uploading documentation.
For businesses, corporations, nonprofits, public entities, and other organizations holding unclaimed or abandoned property, instructions on how to prepare and submit a report and remittance online can be found on the Unclaimed Property website as well.
Help is available
Search the Michigan Unclaimed Property website at www.michigan.gov/unclaimedproperty. Claimants may also call 517-636-5320.
The estate planning attorneys at O’Reilly Rancilio will help ensure your assets are distributed properly to your intended beneficiaries. For more information, call 586-726-1000 or visit our website.