Abandoned Property


DEFINITION of 'Abandoned Property'

Assets such as cash, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, uncashed checks, land, life insurance policies and the contents of safe deposit boxes that have been turned over to the state after several years of inactivity. Some states hold onto such property and allow the original owners and heirs to claim it indefinitely. In other states, if the property goes unclaimed for too long, it may become the state's property through a process known as escheatment. One purpose of abandoned property laws is to relieve the asset holder of liability.

BREAKING DOWN 'Abandoned Property'

In the United States, state laws determine when an asset is legally considered abandoned. In Massachusetts, for example, a bank account that has seen no activity for more than three years will be turned over to the state, but owners can file a claim to collect their abandoned property at any time. To locate abandoned property, also called unclaimed property, individuals can do a free search through state-sponsored websites or they can contact the state treasury or comptroller's office. States may also try to locate owners of unclaimed property through letters and newspaper announcements.

  1. Safe Deposit Box

    A box - usually located inside a bank - which is used to store ...
  2. Estate Planning

    The collection of preparation tasks that serve to manage an individual's ...
  3. Inheritance

    All or part of a person's estate/assets that is given to an heir ...
  4. Curtesy

    A common law right of a husband to the estate and property of ...
  5. Heir

    HeirA person who inherits some or all of the estate of another ...
  6. Escheat

    The transfer of title of property or an estate to the state when ...
Related Articles
  1. Retirement

    Keeping Track Of Retirement Plan Assets

    Maintain records of your pension benefits or risk losing them.
  2. Retirement

    Bankruptcy Protection For Your Accounts

    Will the plan assets you've worked hard for be safe if you experience a personal financial crisis?
  3. Retirement

    Disclaiming Inherited Plan Assets

    There are some good reasons for choosing not to accept the funds, but be sure you follow the proper process.
  4. Taxes

    Tips For Moving Retirement Plan Assets

    Moving assets is common when changing jobs or retiring, but you have to do this carefully to avoid penalties.
  5. Options & Futures

    The REIT Way

    Ever considered investing in real estate? Read about the REIT and see if it's the investment for you.
  6. Home & Auto

    Do You Need A Real Estate Agent?

    There's no guarantee that realtors will act in your best interest, but it may be worth hiring one anyway.
  7. Home & Auto

    Simple Ways To Invest In Real Estate

    Owning property isn't always easy, but there are plenty of perks. Find out how to buy in.
  8. Credit & Loans

    Understanding The Mortgage Payment Structure

    We explain the calculation and payment process as well as the amortization schedule of home loans.
  9. Options & Futures

    Having A Plan: The Basis Of Success

    It ensures that you have a realistic outlook, and a solid strategy. We show you why and how.
  10. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    American Funds' Top Funds for Retirement

    Planning for retirement in this economic and investment environment is far from easy. American Funds might offer an answer.
  1. What do states do with unclaimed property?

    Unclaimed property refers to personal accounts in financial institutions or companies that have had no activity and whose ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. How can you reclaim escheated, or unclaimed, property?

    The process for reclaiming unclaimed or escheated property varies by state, as the federal government does not have a central ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. How much money does Florida make from unclaimed property each year?

    Each year, goods such as money, financial investments and physical property are either auctioned off or appraised before ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What causes a stock account to be escheated?

    Your state government may be able to escheat your stock account or another financial asset if the account or asset is deemed ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. How liquid are Vanguard mutual funds?

    The Vanguard mutual fund family is one of the largest and most well-recognized fund family in the financial industry. Its ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. Which mutual funds made money in 2008?

    Out of the 2,800 mutual funds that Morningstar, Inc., the leading provider of independent investment research in North America, ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Turkey

    Slang for an investment that yields disappointing results or turns out worse than expected. Failed business deals, securities ...
  2. Barefoot Pilgrim

    A slang term for an unsophisticated investor who loses all of his or her wealth by trading equities in the stock market. ...
  3. Quick Ratio

    The quick ratio is an indicator of a company’s short-term liquidity. The quick ratio measures a company’s ability to meet ...
  4. Black Tuesday

    October 29, 1929, when the DJIA fell 12% - one of the largest one-day drops in stock market history. More than 16 million ...
  5. Black Monday

    October 19, 1987, when the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) lost almost 22% in a single day. That event marked the beginning ...
  6. Monetary Policy

    Monetary policy is the actions of a central bank, currency board or other regulatory committee that determine the size and ...
Trading Center