Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, Glenn Hegar

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Frequently Asked Questions

About Unclaimed Property

What is Unclaimed Property?

Unclaimed Property can be any financial asset that has been abandoned by the owner for one or more years.  Some examples of property that can become abandoned are:

  • Dividend, Payroll or Cashier’s Checks
  • Stocks, Mutual Fund Accounts, Bonds
  • Utility Deposits and Other Refunds
  • Bank Accounts
  • Safe Deposit Box Contents
  • Insurance Proceeds
  • Mineral Interests or Royalties
  • Court Deposits, Trust Funds, Escrow Payments

A company has informed me that they ‘escheated’ my funds to the state.  What does that mean?

“Escheat” is a term often used incorrectly, when a company has transferred custody of funds from their own books to the state.  In fact, the company has only “reported” funds to the state.  The state has not taken ownership of the funds, and will continue to hold them until the rightful owner comes forward.  Actual escheatment of property is very rare, and only done by government offices.

Why were my funds reported to the state?

Texas Law requires financial institutions, businesses and some government entities to report any personal property they hold that is considered abandoned or unclaimed. The institution is required to contact the owner first if the amount is over $250 and the address known.

If the owner cannot be located and the property has been inactive on the holder's books for an extended period, the property is considered abandoned and must be reported and turned over to the Comptroller's office. The time limit varies according to the type of funds or property.

For more information go to the Texas Legislature Online and select Property Code. Chapters 72 through 75 apply to the reporting, delivery and claims process for abandoned property.

Is this a legitimate site?

This site is legitimate. For more information go to the Texas Legislature Online and select Property Code. Chapters 72 through 75 apply to the reporting, delivery and claims process for abandoned property.

If you have concerns about the legitimacy of Texas Unclaimed Property, call the Better Business Bureau or your state representative to confirm our history.

I’ve been contacted by a company informing me that I have unclaimed property.  Do I have to work with them, or can I deal directly with you?

Individuals and businesses are welcome to deal directly with Texas Unclaimed Property.  You do not have to sign a contract with a private company to collect your money.

Heirfinders, asset recovery companies, locators, finders, tracers, collectors, investigators, researchers, brokers, etc. must be licensed by the Texas Department of Public Safety, Private Security Bureau, and their fee cannot be more than 10 percent of the value of the abandoned property recovered, including all expenses incurred.

If the property involved is mineral proceeds, the fee may not include a portion of the underlying minerals or any production payment, overriding royalty or similar payment.

Do you charge for this service?

This office does not charge for the inquiry process.  If you are able to locate any properties and collect them, the office will deduct a 1.5 percent handling fee from claims over $100.

Searching for Property

A company told me that they reported funds to Unclaimed Property under my name, but I can’t find it on your website.

Depending on how recently the company sent the money, it may not be visible yet.  Every July, thousands of companies send unclaimed property to our agency at the same time, and it takes several months to put it all in to our system!

If you believe your property was sent at least a year ago, confirm with the company how your name was spelled when it was sent.  If you are still unable to locate what you’re looking for, fill out our search form. Our Research Department will try to locate the property for you.

I’ve been told my funds were reported to the state as “aggregate.” What does that mean?

Some companies use the option of leaving your name off the funds if the total amount is under $50. (Starting with the 2015 reporting year, the limit is $25.) Instead of reporting thousands of tiny accounts worth only a few dollars each, they bundle them all together and turn it over as one lump sum.  If this is your case, your name will not appear on our site. 

To claim funds that were part of an aggregate lump sum, complete the Search Form and send it to us with a copy of the last statement and/or letter from the institution.  This statement and/or letter should show the dollar amount and year reported.  We will use that information to pay you the correct amount.

This property shows my name but no address.  How can I tell if it’s mine?

If a company didn’t report an address, this office may not be able to prove ownership.  It will be up to you to prove dealings with the reporting institution related to the transaction, in order to claim these funds. 

I’m not really sure if these funds are mine or not.  Is there a liability in starting a claim?

There is no liability in only starting a claim.  If the office disproves ownership, we will simply notify you in a letter and continue to display the funds on our public website. 

What happens to a property if it is never claimed?

The state of Texas has no statute of limitations for unclaimed property.  Funds reported to us will remain here indefinitely until the rightful owner claims them.

Completing the Claim Form

Which form do I pick to apply for unclaimed property?

We do not provide blank unclaimed property forms.  Find the funds that you wish to claim in Search Unclaimed Property, and select them by checking each small box.  Answer the required questions, and the claim form will assemble itself.  You can either print it yourself, or request that we mail it to you. 

If you cannot locate the name you’re looking for, use our search form to get started.

How do I complete this form, and what do I need to send with it?

If you are seeking to claim money that is listed under:

When asked to explain relationship to the owner, none of the options apply to me.

If your name is listed, then you are considered the owner.  This has nothing to do with who owned the house at the reported address.  This is only about the unclaimed property (example: paycheck, dividends, stocks). 

Who is the additional owner?

We've created a video on how to identify additional owners. Watch the video.

Look at the Property Information boxes underneath the signature line.  Each box will list a Reported Property Owner on the left side, and Additional Owner on the right.

If there is no name in that box, there is probably no additional owner.

If there is a name in the box, that person must sign the claim form and return a copy of identification along with yours.

If the Additional Owner box states one name “+ others”, then there are multiple owners and the form did not have enough room to list all of them.  Contact us or call (800) 531-5441 ext. 6-4125 to find out what the unseen names are.

If you want to claim all the funds, refer to the information on Check Assignments.

Why does this property show as $0?

We've created a video on zero dollar properties. Watch the video.

Typically a property shows as $0 if it is a safe deposit box, stock or bond.  Refer to Claiming Stocks and Bonds and Safe Deposit Boxes for more details on these kinds of claims.

Do I have to return a claim form to the office to begin the process?

If our site informed you that you did not need to mail a claim, just make a note of the claim number for your records and wait for payment.

Otherwise, you need to sign the form and return it with the required documentation to begin.  No action is taken when the claimant orders a form from the site; we only begin when we receive the signed and completed form.

Do I need to send this certified mail?  Where do I mail the documents?

Use certified mail if you are sending something original and irreplaceable, such as uncashed checks or stocks and bonds.  Otherwise, first class mail is fine. Keep a copy of everything you send, since mail delivery is not guaranteed. Send mail to:

Unclaimed Property
P.O. Box 12046
Austin, TX 78711

Can I come by the office in person?

You are welcome to visit our office in Austin. Our hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m, and no appointment is necessary.  We may not be able to process your claim while you wait, depending on the circumstances of your claim. We do not print checks on site. Your check will be mailed to you.  We are located at:

Unclaimed Property
111 E. 17th St.
Austin, TX 78711

Will you return my documents?

We do not return documents. In most cases photocopies are acceptable, and we do not recommend sending original documents.

The exceptions are original checks, stock certificates, Lost Instrument Bonds and death certificates if the claim is $5,000 or more.

All documents and photocopies are electronically scanned upon entering the building, then shredded.

I sent my claim form (or some additional requested information) to your office, and your website still doesn’t show it has arrived.

Our office scans all incoming mail, faxes and paperwork. This allows us to store documents electronically.  Please allow at least ten business days for us to scan your documents. 

Additional Information Needed

What is this Check Assignment form, and what do I do with it?

The reporting company sent the property to us with two or more names listed as owners.  We cannot release the full amount to you without the permission of all parties.  You must have the other party sign the Check Assignment form before a notary, then return it to our office.

You, the claimant, are the Assignee. The other party may be an individual person or a company, and is called the Assignor.

The Assignor must submit a copy of their ID with the completed Check Assignment form to our office.

If there are multiple Assignors, we require a completed Check Assignment form from each party.

If the Assignor is a company, the representative must also include proof that they are authorized to make such a decision on behalf of their organization.

I received an an Earnest Money Assignment, but I have no way of finding the other party.

The reporting institution sent us Earnest Money with both parties listed. We cannot release the money without the consent of both parties.  If you are unable to locate the other party for a signature, you can present your real estate contract to Small Claims Court and convince a judge that the money is rightfully yours.  We will accept a judge’s signature for full release of the money.

I've been asked to submit a Lost Instrument Bond.  What is that?

You may be required to submit an original check or other negotiable instrument. If you cannot provide it, you may need to purchase a Lost Instrument Bond. A Lost Instrument Bond is a guarantee that if the original check is found, it will be returned for official destruction and that the Texas Comptroller will not be held responsible for its value.

I received a letter stating I have thirty days to reply, but it’s going to take me longer to gather the required materials.  How do I keep my claim from being denied?

Pending claims will be suspended after 30 days of inactivity, but the suspension can be undone at any time by submitting the requested documentation. If you are assigned a claim number but we never receive any paperwork for it, the claim number will be eliminated after one year. Funds and properties that have not been successfully claimed will continue to remain available for future claim submission.

Payment

When will my check arrive?

After your claim has been approved, allow 7-10 business days for your check to arrive in the mail.     

What was this money from?

The properties and the companies that submitted the money were listed on your claim form.  If you no longer have a copy of your claim form, contact us.  We will need the DOC number from the check stub.

I received my check, but what about my active shares?

In cases where stock is returned, you will receive a letter explaining the return of your shares to the market.  This is handled by a different area than the Unclaimed Property department, and the information will arrive in a separate envelope. 

The check was not as much as I expected.

We deduct a 1.5 percent handling fee from claims over $100.

If your check is substantially less than the original claim, it is possible that some properties were removed because it was determined they belonged to someone else. 

If you are a co-heir for properties originally belonging to someone else, this office divides the properties and mails separate portions.  You may have received only your portion of the total claim.

If part of your claim included active stock shares, this check does not include them.  We may have mailed you the cash portion of your claim, but the shares are sent to you through electronic registration.  You will be informed of this in greater detail in a separate letter. 

This check was more than I expected.

If your property was related to mineral royalties or stocks, the companies may have been sending us additional revenue that was not made publicly visible on the website.  It is standard practice to add these additional payments to your check before completing the claim.   

Will you issue an IRS 1099 form for this paid claim?

No, we do not issue IRS 1099 forms.  If you have concerns about tax reporting, consult an expert on tax preparation.

In 2015, the Texas Legislature passed House Bill 855, which requires state agencies to publish a list of the three most commonly used Web browsers on their websites. The Texas Comptroller’s most commonly used Web browsers are Microsoft Internet Explorer, Google Chrome and Apple Safari.

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