Property held by banks, various companies and government entities when they can no longer contact the rightful owner is considered abandoned. The original owner of the property is still entitled to the property, however Massachusetts laws require that the companies turn the property over to the Massachusetts Treasurer if they are unable to locate the owner after periods of time specified in their unclaimed property laws. For account owners, this means they need to know how to find unclaimed property in Massachusetts.
Original account holder
The easiest method of finding unclaimed property will be to contact the business who originally held the property. Even if accounts have been escheated to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the original account holder will have a record of the account, balance and original account owners name. In some cases, they may be willing to work with the account owner or their heirs to retrieve the property.
Commonwealth of Massachusetts
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has an abandoned property database online. Account owners or heirs may search this database by providing specific information such as last name, first name and city. If there are more than 50 results, you may be asked to narrow the search down or contact the abandoned property office directly.
In addition to an online search, property owners or heirs may contact the Office of the Treasurer by telephone at 617-367-0400 or 1-888-344-MASS (toll free Massachusetts only) during normal business hours. In addition, inquiries may be made by mail at Department of the State Treasurer, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Abandoned Property Division, One Ashburton Place, 12th Floor, Boston, MA 02108-1608.
Property locating services
Property locating (or heir locating) services may contact property owners to advise them they have identified property belonging to them or a family member. Massachusetts abandoned property division does not charge any fees while a property locating service may charge. It is important to note that Massachusetts unclaimed property laws prohibit these services from charging owners or heirs of abandoned property any fees in excess of 10 percent of the amount paid to the claimant.
Residents, heirs of former residents or those who have done business with businesses in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts may find it beneficial to know how to find unclaimed property. Since most property considered unclaimed under Massachusetts Abandoned Property Act, Chapter 200A of M.G.L. is reported to the state three years after the company loses contact with the property owner, it is helpful to check the database for property on a regular basis. Massachusetts publishes unclaimed property lists in the newspaper and conducts outreach programs for property owners.