Every day, someone loses some form of financial property because of a change of address, death, or just plainforgetfulness. What happens to these forgotten funds? The Unclaimed Property Division is responsible for holding the abandoned or unclaimed funds or property until the rightful owner or heir is found. There is a one in 20 chance that you may have $100 or more in the State’s Unclaimed Property fund.
Property is considered unclaimed if the owner has not provided evidence of any interest or control over the property for a number of years. Savings accounts are considered abandoned after three years of inactivity; safe deposit boxes after five years; money orders after seven years, and travelers checks after 15 years. Holders of unclaimed property usually banks, insurance companies, corporations, etc. are required by law to attempt to contact the owner of the property when it appears that the owner has abandoned the item. If the owner fails to respond, the property is deemed abandoned and the holder must include the property in the annual unclaimed property report to the Department of Commerce.
The state acts as a custodian for the property while continuously attempting to find the owners of the unclaimed property. The monetary items are held in the state's general fund until claims are made. The tangible property from safe deposit boxes is held at the Department of Commerce. If this property is left unclaimed, the items are then made available for auction every 10 years. The last auction was held in March 2003.
To date, more than 284 million worth of property has been returned to Minnesota residents since the Unclaimed Property Program began. As of January 2013, over $550 million worth of property still remained unclaimed. To date, the Department has returned 31 percent of received property to the rightful owners through the Unclaimed Property Program.
Reports of unclaimed property are received on November 1st of each year. During Fiscal Year 2012, the department received over $61 million. The department also received the contents from more than 550 safe deposit boxes and more than 8000 security related holdings.