Just about any intangible property in South Carolina, not in the possession of its owner can be considered unclaimed funds.
Examples of unclaimed funds include:
- Dormant bank accounts,
- Uncashed checks (including paychecks),
- Unclaimed insurance proceeds,
- Forgotten utility deposits,
- Uncashed dividend checks and
- Unexchanged shares of stock.
It does not include real estate or vehicles.
Unclaimed property laws began in the United States as a consumer protection program and they have evolved to protect not only the owners, but their heirs and estates as well.
Property is generally considered abandoned and must be reported to the South Carolina Unclaimed Property Program if the property in question has not had any activity within a certain period of time, usually five years for most properties, and the holder is unable to locate the property owner.
Before the unclaimed funds are remitted to the Program, the company holding the funds is required to notify the owners at the address on the company’s records.
To prevent your accounts from becoming unclaimed or abandoned, keep accounts active and make sure that you make a deposit or withdrawal, update your contact information, or contact your financial institution at least once every five years.
The South Carolina Unclaimed Property law provides consumer protection by serving as custodian of unclaimed property and by giving owners the means to perform a centralized search.
Although South Carolina’s Unclaimed Property law went into effect in 1971, there are some accounts with a last date of owner-initiated activity from the 1940’s.
There is no time limit to collect unclaimed funds in South Carolina. The rightful owner always has the right to claim the funds. There is also no fee to collect these funds.
Regarding the time it takes to collect your claim, the goal of the South Carolina unclaimed funds department is to expedite all claims and return property to the rightful owners as quickly as possible. Depending on the complexity of the claim, and the thoroughness of the claim documentation, it can take from four to twelve weeks. However, in many cases, the claim is processed within just a few weeks.
If the original owner is deceased, the Personal Representative for the estate can make a claim on the property by providing a copy of the death certificate, a currently dated Probate Order, as well as proof of the deceased’s ownership of the property. Click here for a list of county probate courts in SC. If no estate was opened, or the estate has been closed, contact the South Carolina Unclaimed Property Program at (803) 737-4771 to discuss your options.
There is a little known business that lets you do that. Unclaimed money finders locate people that don’t know they money being held for them and help them to recover it.
In return, they charge a commission after the money is recovered.
Please click here if you would like to learn more about this business.