Alaska Statute 34.45.110-780 provides specific rights to the State of Alaska to maintain an unclaimed property division. In addition, these statutes provide specific time frames (three years) for property such as oil and gas royalties, paychecks that have not been cashed, safe deposit box contents and other financial assets to be turned over to the state. Property is turned over to the state provided that it is considered abandoned.
What is abandoned property?
Abandoned property occurs when someone leaves a job, moves, gets married or passes away without a will or without notifying heirs that they have property. In essence, a company that holds property for an account owner loses contact with the person (or business) and is unable to locate them. Once the maximum time of no contact has passed, the company is then required to report such property to the state and turn it over to the state per the escheatment laws.
What happens to abandoned property?
The State of Alaska (as well as several other states) provide a list of property that is unclaimed into a database. This database is maintained online at Missing Money. Like most other states, Alaska does not charge claimants to file a claim or to claim property that is rightfully theirs.
Additionally, property locators (also called finders or heir finders) may help owners find property. Oftentimes, these companies charge a fee to help locate, identify and place claims. In Alaska there is no requirement that a person who is helping others locate property be registered with the state. Alaska does however protect property owners by placing caps on fees (based on property value) and the length of time that a contract may cover.
Time for claims and other notes
While Alaska allows the original account owner or their heirs to claim property at any time, there are certain documents that must be provided. Documents may include (but may not be limited to) photo identification, death certificates (where applicable) and confirmation of social security number. In addition, the claimant may have to provide some documents indicating that the account was their account (or that they have the right to claim the account).
There are specific account types that may not be found in the unclaimed property list. These include certain profit sharing or pension funds, over-payments to unemployment funds and various other types of financial items. Alaska provides specific information for these types of financial properties.
Safe deposit box contents, shares of mutual funds or stocks and other financial instruments are often forgotten about when people move or go through other life-altering changes. However, in Alaska if you know how to find unclaimed property, it will be a simple process to claim abandoned property.