Unclaimed Property Terms


Abandoned or Unclaimed Property: Intangible (i.e. bank account, brokerage account or life insurance policy) or tangible property (i.e. safe deposit box contents) that has been inactive and left dormant for a statutorily defined amount of time.

Activity: When an action by the owner of the asset “restarts” the applicable dormancy period, under the laws of the relevant jurisdiction. For example, if the owner initiates a transaction related to her bank account this is considered an “owner activity” and is sufficient to cause the dormancy period to start over.

Asset Recovery: The process by which an owner of unclaimed property can recover the property directly or through the services of a professional asset location and recovery firm.

Dormancy Period: A dormancy period is a defined period of time in which the asset owner does not take action relating to the property. The dormancy period, also known as the abandonment period or escheat period, begins on the date of last activity by the owner. The duration of dormancy periods varies depending upon the jurisdiction and type of asset.

Due Diligence: Each jurisdiction mandates that holders conduct outreach to reunite owners with property. Unclaimed property laws or administrative rules for each jurisdiction typically specify the timing for and type of the notification. Some jurisdictions require specific language; information and font requirements related to mandated correspondence and may have additional requirements such as certified mailing.

Escheat: The transferring or remitting of abandoned or unclaimed property to the appropriate government entity within a jurisdiction in accordance with its unclaimed property laws.

Holder: The business or other entity, which holds dormant or inactive property, that is due to, payable or distributable to the owner of the asset.

Last Activity Date: The date of last activity by the owner related to the asset. This date is important to determine when the dormancy period for an asset begins.

Last Known Address: The address of record for an owner of unclaimed property, as identified on the holder’s books and records.

Owner: The individual(s), company or entity to which property belongs or is payable.

Record Retention: The required maintenance of records for a specified period of time in accordance with jurisdictional law and regulations.

Reporting Process: The process prescribed by a jurisdiction’s unclaimed property laws for the reporting and remittance of unclaimed property.