When businesses lose contact with their account holders, any credit balances or property held in safekeeping (such as stocks, bonds or military medals) are subject to the unclaimed property laws in Missouri. As many states do, the state requires banks, insurance companies and others who hold financial assets to report any unclaimed property to them on an annual basis. Missouri unclaimed property laws specify that contact must be “lost” for a period of five years.
Property in safekeeping
Property that is held in safekeeping ranges from securities such as stocks, bonds and certificates of deposit. Additionally, contents of safe deposit boxes are included. These items may include stamp or coin collections, jewelry or military medals. Physical property from safe deposit boxes is sold at a public auction two years after being turned over to the state. The exception to this is military medals which are turned over to the Department of Veteran’s Affairs to be held for the owner or heirs. Funds from sales of property are returned to the abandoned property fund and held for the rightful owner.
Managing unclaimed property
The Missouri State Treasurer is responsible for the management of unclaimed property. The office retains records of all property that is escheated and keeps a record of any claims filed (and paid) for specified periods of time based on the Missouri unclaimed property laws. When property is auctioned, no person who managed the property including reporters, employees at the Treasurer’s office or the treasurer may bid on the property.
Rules for claiming property
Owners of unclaimed property, the administrator (or executor) of their estate or their heirs may claim property at any time. There is no time limit, the property is available in perpetuity. To find out if the State of Missouri is holding property, inquiries may be done in writing to Missouri State Treasurer, Unclaimed Property, PO Box 1004, Jefferson City, MO 65102 or may view the online database at Show Me Money. Paper claims may be mailed or paperless claims may be filed from the database. Certain documents to help verify ownership or the right to claim the property may be required.
Each state has specific unclaimed property laws. In Missouri, these laws are found in Missouri Revised Statutes, Chapter 447, Lost and Unclaimed Property. Generally, when a business has lost contact with an original account owner for a period of five years, the property they hold is considered abandoned. Once this occurs, the holder needs to notify the account owner by mail at their last address. Provided there is no contact after this notification, the business is then obligated to report this property and turn it over to the Treasurer in compliance with the unclaimed property laws in Missouri.