In Maryland, unclaimed property is handled through the office of the Comptroller. Like many states, the Maryland unclaimed property division handles assets that have been abandoned by the owner. These assets include checking accounts, safe deposit box contents and several other types of financial assets. Unclaimed property does not include automobiles, homes or land that is abandoned. Those who have done business or lived in Maryland should understand how to find unclaimed property in Maryland.
Account holder reporting
Maryland requires businesses including banks, broker dealers and others who handle financial assets to report any property that has been dormant for more than three years to the Comptroller. Account holders must not have had any contact during this period of time with the account owner including deposits, cashed checks (on brokerage or bank accounts) or changes of address. Account holders are required to file reports each year in October for the fiscal year ending on June 30. One notable exception is insurance companies which must report in April for the year ending December 31.
Outreach to account owners
Banks and others who hold assets for the benefit of an account owner must attempt to reach the owner prior to escheating property to the state of Maryland. They must (at a minimum) send a letter to the last known address advising the account owner that the property will be turned over to the state within 30 days. Depending on internal compliance rules, some companies may elect to run skip-traces or do a soft credit inquiry.
Finding unclaimed property
For those who have done business in Maryland with any company or business, unclaimed property may be a concern. In order to find the rightful owner, the Maryland State Comptroller has set up an easy to use online database of unclaimed property. Users may search for property by last name and first name and should consider searching under common misspellings as well.
Claims for abandoned property may be filed by the account owner, heirs of the account owner or by an heir locating service. In addition, estate executors may also file on behalf of the estate of an account owner. There is no time limit to file a claim for property, and there is no charge to file a claim. In addition, if someone hires a property location service, Maryland like many other states imposes restrictions on when these services may be used (e.g., not less than 24 months after the property is turned over to the state). For some people, knowing how to find unclaimed property in Maryland could mean they find assets they (or their relatives) have forgotten about.