Bona Vacantia

DEFINITION of 'Bona Vacantia'

A legal term for the situation in which property is left without any clear owner. The precise handling of such property varies depending on the jurisdiction. In most cases, the property is held by the government, and may be recovered by rightful owners or heirs. Bona vacantia property, which remains unclaimed after a certain period of time, sometimes reverts to government ownership. In other cases, the government is obliged to serve as custodian for bona vacantia property into perpetuity.

BREAKING DOWN 'Bona Vacantia'

Common situations where property can become abandoned are when a person dies with no known heirs or next of kin, when a business is dissolved or when the property owner leaves a jurisdiction without leaving any contact information.


In the U.S. bona vacantia property is handled at the state level. Each state maintains its own unclaimed property office, where it is possible to search for bona vacantia property that may belong to you.

RELATED TERMS
  1. Safe Deposit Box

    A box - usually located inside a bank - which is used to store ...
  2. Next Of Kin

    A person's closest living blood relative. The next-of-kin relationship ...
  3. Heir

    HeirA person who inherits some or all of the estate of another ...
  4. Appropriation

    1. The act of setting aside money for a specific purpose. A company ...
  5. Estate

    A person's estate is everything comprising the net worth of an ...
  6. Novation

    1.The act of replacing one participating member of a contract ...
Related Articles
  1. Options & Futures

    Getting Started On Your Estate Plan

    With some preparation, you can save your heirs from paying a hefty estate tax. Here are some tips.
  2. Options & Futures

    An Estate Planning Must: Update Your Beneficiaries

    Life changes make it time to rewrite your plan's designations.
  3. Retirement

    Refusing An Inheritance

    Contrary to popular belief, inheriting assets isn't always a good thing. Find out what to do if you want to disclaim them.
  4. Retirement

    Skipping-Out on Probate Costs

    Don't let bad estate planning lead to unnecessary costs and stress for your inheritors.
  5. Retirement

    Mistakes In Designating A Retirement Beneficiary

    Make sure your beneficiary designations not only reflect your intentions but also meet the requirements to be effective.
  6. Taxes

    Why People Renounce Their U.S Citizenship

    This year, the highest number of Americans ever took the irrevocable step of giving up their citizenship. Here's why.
  7. Personal Finance

    What it Takes to Get a Green Card

    Grounds for getting a green card include having family members in the U.S., being a certain type of refugee or specialized worker, or winning a lottery.
  8. Career Education & Resources

    Laws & Regulations To Know Before Changing the Name of Your Business

    Discover some of the most important steps you need to take after making a decision to change your legally established business name.
  9. Personal Finance

    Passport Procrastinators: This Year, Renew Early!

    Millions of passports issued nearly 10 years ago when the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative became law are expiring. Expect backlogs; leave extra time.
  10. Term

    Understanding Rule 144A

    Rule 144A is an SEC rule that changes the two-year holding period requirement on privately placed securities.
RELATED FAQS
  1. What is the Writ of Mandamus?

    A writ of mandamus is a court order issued by a judge at a petitioner’s request compelling someone to execute a duty he is ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Are UTMA accounts escheatable?

    Like most financial assets held by institutions such as banks and investment firms, UTMA accounts can be escheated by state ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Can the IRS audit you after a refund?

    The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) can audit tax returns even after it has issued a tax refund to a taxpayer. According ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. How does escheatment impact a company?

    In recent years, state governments have become increasingly aggressive in enforcing escheatment laws. As a result, many businesses ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What happens if property is wrongfully escheated?

    If your financial accounts, such as bank, investment or savings accounts, are declared dormant and the managing financial ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. How do financial advisors help you avoid escheatment?

    Financial advisors can help you avoid the escheatment of your financial assets by regularly reviewing all of your accounts, ... Read Full Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Socially Responsible Investment - SRI

    An investment that is considered socially responsible because of the nature of the business the company conducts. Common ...
  2. Inverted Yield Curve

    An interest rate environment in which long-term debt instruments have a lower yield than short-term debt instruments of the ...
  3. Presidential Election Cycle (Theory)

    A theory developed by Yale Hirsch that states that U.S. stock markets are weakest in the year following the election of a ...
  4. Super Bowl Indicator

    An indicator based on the belief that a Super Bowl win for a team from the old AFL (AFC division) foretells a decline in ...
  5. Flight To Quality

    The action of investors moving their capital away from riskier investments to the safest possible investment vehicles. This ...
  6. Discouraged Worker

    A person who is eligible for employment and is able to work, but is currently unemployed and has not attempted to find employment ...
Trading Center