Unclaimed property, which is at times called the “abandoned property”, means accounts in financial institutions or companies that has inactive for over a year or more or has no contact with the owner. This may include cashier checks, money orders, traveler’s checks etc that has not been cashed, pay roll checks that has not been cashed, oil and fuel royalty payments etc.
In Florida, every aspect regarding the unclaimed property is dealt with the bureau of unclaimed Property in the Department of Financial services. The business institutions in Florida have many duties towards ‘Unclaimed Property’. In any case they posses any unclaimed property, they need to contact the owner if known, else or if the account remains unclaimed, the institution has to report the matter to the state. Florida’s unclaimed property laws make sure to impose punishments to the business institutions failing to do so.
Incase of individuals, the Florida laws, recognize the account to be abandoned or unclaimed if the owner doesn’t claim it for more than five years, the time period depends upon the nature of the unclaimed property, it goes to the state. After which the individual has to deal with the state to claim it.
For the purpose of reporting an unclaimed property, which is not less that $50, the business institution must send a prior notice to the owner of the account. They must try to locate the owner within 120 days, to the maximum, or 60 days, to the minimum of submitting about the unclaimed property to the bureau of unclaimed Property through the Verified annual report. The account is considered as “Unclaimed” if:
- If the holder could not trace the owner
- If the mail notices return undelivered.
- If the owner doesn’t respond to the notices given.
The delivery of the unclaimed property must be insured to the estimated amount of the unclaimed property with each package marked as “delivered unopened” along with the ‘safe deposit box contents” in a single shipment to the bureau of unclaimed Property. The delivery of the unclaimed property to the bureau of unclaimed Property would mitigate them of any further liability to the unclaimed property. However, the holder must keep the record of the unclaimed property at least for five years or three years, according to the nature of the property, after reporting it to the bureau of unclaimed Property.
The penalty towards the late submission of the verified annual report would be $10 per day to the maximum of $500. Also if the unclaimed property and the safe deposit box aren’t delivered to the bureau of unclaimed Property in time, a penalty of $100 per safe deposit box shipment container must be made.