Under the Uniform Unclaimed Property Act, Michigan insurance companies, banks, businesses, local units of government, and other entities are required to turn over abandoned or unclaimed property to the State of Michigan each year.
The Unclaimed Property Division then works to reunite properties like uncashed checks, bank accounts, stock certificates, insurance claim payments, and other assets, with their rightful owners.
In recent years, the number of paid claims has nearly doubled, to 36,800 in Fiscal Year 2005. As a result, $35 million was returned to individuals last year alone (see table).
|Claims Paid by UPD||21,100||30,800||35,600||36,800|
|Amounts Paid||$27.1 mil||$30.3 mil||$34.7 mil||$34.8 mil|
Click here to search for Michigan unclaimed money.
Below you will find all of the frequently asked questions from the Michigan unclaimed money site:
Who administers the law?
The Michigan State Treasurer is the administrator of the Uniform Unclaimed Property Act and acts as custodian of the unclaimed money on behalf of the owner.
Why does Michigan have an Unclaimed Property Law?
Michigan’s Uniform Unclaimed Property Act protects unclaimed property and returns it to its rightful owners or their heirs. The State Treasurer takes custody of the property so the owner may claim it, even if the original holder (like a financial institution) is no longer in business. The law also centralizes the search for lost property. Michigan citizens trying to locate forgotten bank accounts and other property need to look in only one place: the Unclaimed Property Division of the Michigan Department of Treasury.
Does the State simply go in and take the money?
No. Michigan Unclaimed money is turned over to the State Treasurer, after the following have occurred.
1. There has been no owner-generated activity in the account for a specific amount of time (usually five years).
2. Attempts to contact the owner have failed. If these attempts are unsuccessful, the money is turned over to the State Treasurer where the owner or the owner’s heirs may claim it.
Does a customer have to go to the bank or other business every year to keep the account from becoming dormant?
No. A customer may write or telephone the holder, in most cases, every five years to keep the account from being reported to the state as a dormant account. The holder must maintain records that show how it tracks communications from the customer.
Why do companies, banks and financial institutions have to turn over unclaimed funds to the State Treasurer?
Holders are required to report and remit accounts or other property that belong to owners who cannot be located, or for whom there is no known address.
The Michigan Uniform Unclaimed Property Act protects accounts belonging to owners whose whereabouts is unknown. Companies, banks and other financial institutions identify accounts for which there has not been any owner-generated activity during the applicable dormancy period and the owner has not responded to mail or telephone inquiries.
If the owner does not respond or contact the holder within five years, and does not respond to the due diligence notice sent by the holder, the account must be turned over to the State Treasurer. The Unclaimed Property Division publishes an advertisement twice per year in newspapers directing those who suspect they may have unclaimed property to the Treasury Web site. The account is held by the state until the owner or the owner’s heir are located and the funds are claimed.
If an owner just lets his or her account “sit” and accumulate interest or dividends, is it considered active?
No. If interest or dividends are automatically deposited into an account, it is not considered active because there is no customer contact or customer activity. However, if an owner endorses an interest check and deposits the check, this is considered owner-generated activity. There are many ways to keep an account active including customer contact by mail or telephone (when documented by the holder). In addition, a financial institution or company may cross-reference an inactive account with an active account having the same owner.
Must a claimant pay a fee to get his or her money back?
No. This is a public service provided by the State of Michigan.
What should a person do if his or her name appears on a list of unclaimed property?
Call or write the Unclaimed Property Division, Michigan Department of Treasury
Can a holder reimburse a customer or reactivate a customer’s account?
A bank or any other company may reimburse a customer or reactivate an account even though the money has already been sent to the State Treasurer. If a holder chooses to reinstate an account, the holder may file a substantiated claim with the Unclaimed Property Division and be reimbursed for the funds.
Will the State return an owner’s money after it has been remitted?
Yes. Unclaimed property always belongs to the rightful owner. The State Treasurer acts only as a custodian of the funds. No time limit is set for claiming these funds and the State Treasurer never charges an owner or heir for returning the funds.
Are holders obligated to report and remit unclaimed property to other states?
Yes. The Supreme Court ruling in Texas vs. New Jersey dictates that unclaimed property must be reported and remitted to the state of the owner’s last known address. If the state does not have an applicable law regarding the property, the property must be sent to the holder’s state of incorporation.
What happens to money that is never claimed by the owner?
Owners or heirs can always claim their property. There is no time limit for making a claim to the State Treasurer. While the State Treasurer often is successful in reuniting people with their money, many owners are never located. The money that is never claimed is transferred into the general fund for the benefit of all Michigan citizens.
Should an owner hire a Michigan unclaimed money finder?
We encourage owners to contact the Michigan Unclaimed Money Division directly to search for funds before signing a contract with a Michigan unclaimed money finder. The Unclaimed Property Division will refund only to the owner or their heirs, not the Michigan unclaimed money finder.
Regarding Michigan unclaimed money finders, what happens if I have unclaimed money being held for me but do not know about it?
Well, you will never get your money because there are millions of people owed money and our staff is only a handful of people. We can only contact so many people in a day and we really do not have any incentive to contact you at all. We get paid whether you get your money or not. So, if you do not know if money if being held in your name, you better hope a Michigan unclaimed money finder contacts you to let you know.
How do I contact the Michigan Unclaimed Money Division?
Answer: Mailing Address: Unclaimed Property Division Michigan Department of Treasury PO Box 30756 Lansing, MI 48909
Telephone: (517) 636-5320 Fax: (517) 322-5986
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