Frequently Asked Questions About Unclaimed Property
What is Unclaimed Property?
Unclaimed Property is generally defined as any financial asset that has been left inactive by the owner for a period of time specified by the law, generally three (3) years.
What is NOT considered unclaimed property?
Items that are not considered unclaimed property include abandoned vehicles, real estate, furniture, and stolen property. In fact, tangible items are rarely included in unclaimed property. Those that are included usually consist of small items, such as coins or jewelry that can fit inside a safe deposit box.
How do I find out about real estate or land?
Real estate or land are not unclaimed property. You can call the Property Valuation Administrator (PVA) in the county where the parcel is located to obtain information about land ownership.
How far back do Unclaimed Property Records go?
The Commonwealth of Kentucky's Unclaimed Property laws have been in effect since the 1940s.
Can I find out about my unclaimed income tax refund with the Unclaimed Property Section?
State and federal income tax refund checks are not delivered to the Unclaimed Property Division. To inquire about a Kentucky tax refund check, please contact the Department of Revenue at (502)564-3226.
How does the state get Unclaimed Property?
Kentucky’s Unclaimed Property Law requires corporations, businesses, associations, financial institutions, and insurance companies (referred to as “Holders”) to annually report and deliver unclaimed property to the State Treasurer’s Office. Holders identify accounts as unclaimed property when there has been no activity in the account for a specific amount of time, generally three (3) years and attempts to contact the owner fail.
Why are there Unclaimed Property Laws?
Unclaimed Property Laws exist to protect the property rights of owners and reunite them with their funds. The Kentucky State Treasury becomes a “lost and found” of unclaimed money owed to Kentuckians; there is a central place for owners to search and recover their assets.
How do I keep my property from being turned over to the state?
There are several steps you can take to prevent your property from being turned over to the State:
- Cash dividend, interest, or refund checks promptly.
- Keep accurate records of all financial accounts and review them at least once a year.
- Maintain annual activity on accounts.
- Provide financial institutions with a primary contact, secondary contact, or beneficiary contact name.
- Remain aware of accounts.
- Respond promptly to notifications from the business.
- Keep a list of all bank accounts, stock certificates, broker accounts, insurance policies, utility and other deposits, and safe deposit box numbers in a safe secure location.
- If you move, notify all parties of your new address.
- If you stop receiving dividends, contact the company immediately.
What does the state do to find unclaimed property owners?
The Kentucky State Treasury website provides the public with 24-hour access to information regarding unclaimed property. Additionally, our database is available to search free of charge at www.missingmoney.com. The Unclaimed Property Division works diligently to proactively search for the owners of unclaimed property and provide these owners with information to claim the assets that are rightfully theirs. The Treasury annually hosts a booth at the Kentucky State Fair where you can search our database, initiate claims, and learn more about unclaimed property. Throughout the year, numerous unclaimed property related news releases and social media posts are released and promoted by the Treasurer's office. Treasurer Mark H. Metcalf also routinely gives speeches and interviews across the Commonwealth; in nearly every speech and interview she includes information about the Unclaimed Property Division and how Kentuckians can retrieve their property.
I saw my name on an unclaimed property website, but they wanted my credit card information to file a claim. Should I provide this information?
No. You should not pay anyone any amount of money to tell you how to find unclaimed property. These websites, after receiving your payment, will usually just refer you to the state’s unclaimed property website which is already available for you to search as much and often as you want free of charge.
I have been contacted by an agency that says they will claim my property for me for a small fee. What should I do?
If you have been contacted by a fee finder or asset locator, try to locate your property on your own before signing a contract. A fee finder service is not needed to claim your property. If you have concerns about a fee finder or asset locator, contact the Kentucky Better Business Bureau agency.
My account was not dormant/inactive, but the company sent it to your office as unclaimed property anyways. What recourse do I have?
You should contact the company directly to ask why they declared your account dormant or inactive and how you can keep the account(s) active. If they mailed you a due diligence letter, you can request a copy. To launch a complaint or report unfair business practices, contact the Kentucky Attorney General's Office of Consumer Protection, the Kentucky Department of Financial Institutions, or your local Better Business Bureau.
Searching for Unclaimed Property & Requesting a Claim Form
How do I search to see if I have unclaimed property?
Conduct your free search at www.missingmoney.com. Search for yourself, family, friends, your business, and/or employer--it's free! If you see your name and can verify the address as your current or former address, request a claim form online through www.missingmoney.com. Documentation will be required with your claim form. For information regarding possible documentation requirements, click here
Who can claim funds listed in the database?
Only the owner, heir, or court-appointed representative can file a claim for unclaimed property. If the owner is living but unable to file a claim themselves, only their legal Power of Attorney, Guardian, or Conservator may file on their behalf. If you are not sure if the property belongs to you, write down the property identification number and contact our office.
There is no address listed with the name I found in the database. How do I find out if it belongs to me?
If there is no address listed with a name in the database, it may mean the company who reported the property (the "Holder") did not provide our office with an address for the owner. If you conducted business with the Holder, write down the property identification number and call or email our office; our staff can advise if any additional identifying information was reported by the Holder.
If no other information is available, the claimant will be required to provide proof that they did business with the Holder. It may be necessary to contact the Holder for documentation that verifies you are the owner of the account. If you need the Holder's contact information, call or email our office. Please have the property identification number handy to provide to our representative.
If you have never done business with the Holder, the funds may belong to someone else with the same name.
I still live at the address shown in your records. Why was the property reported to the state?
There could be a number of reasons your property was reported to the state as unclaimed. Possible reasons include: the reporting company's attempts to contact you could have been delivered to another address by mistake or lost in the mail, payment may have been issued in the form of a check that went uncashed, or there could have been a merger or acquisition of the company and the acquiring company may not have had time to send notices before the property was reported to the state. Please note that prior to reporting unclaimed property, companies are required to send written notice to the owner at the owner's last known address only if the property is valued at $50 or more.
How much is my claim?
The Kentucky State Treasurer’s Office can only release dollar amounts on the official claim form due to privacy acts. For most accounts, www.missingmoney.com will show if a property is over or under $100.
I previously filed a claim on www.missingmoney.com and the property is no longer listed on their website. Is my account gone?
Missing Money temporarily removes property records from their website after a claim is requested in an attempt to eliminate duplicate claim submissions. If your account is no longer listed and you need a new claim form, you can call the Kentucky State Treasury Unclaimed Property Division at (800)465-4722.
I received a letter from the holding company that stated my property was reported/escheated to Kentucky, but I can’t find my name on missingmoney.com. Where is my property?
When a ‘due diligence’ letter is issued by the reporting company (the "Holder") with a date the recipient has to reply, this is not the date the funds are released to the Commonwealth. The reporting deadline is May 1st for insurance companies and November 1st for all other Holders. Most property is not received by the Treasury until these deadlines. If it is prior to May 1st or November 1st, you may want to contact the reporting company in an effort to collect your property prior to escheatment. After the reporting deadlines, our staff works diligently to enter all new accounts into our database. While we are working as quickly as possible, it can take several weeks for all new accounts to be entered and available to claim.
I was told my money was reported to the state as “aggregate.” What does this mean?
Holders of unclaimed property have the option to report accounts under $100 in one lump sum known as an aggregate account. The Holders who use this option leave names off properties and instead of reporting thousands of smaller accounts will bundle them all together and report it in an aggregate account. In order to claim funds that are part of an aggregate sum, the Holder will need to send us a statement/letter with the following information: the dollar amount owed to you, the year it was reported, the total amount of their report on which it was included, the amount of the aggregate account, and the owner information. We will then use that information to find your account and send you a claim form.
I received a claim form in the mail and I didn’t request one. How did this happen?
The Kentucky Unclaimed Property Division is currently matching the reported names and Tax ID Numbers of possible unclaimed property owners with various databases in an attempt to locate an accurate address and return funds being held by the Treasury to their rightful owner. When our staff identifies a potential new address for an unclaimed property owner, we mail a claim form to the possible owner. To see an example of our Official Claim Form, please click here
How can I find my US Savings Bonds?
Each year, 25,000 payments are returned to the United States Department of the Treasury as undeliverable. In addition, billions of dollars in savings bonds have stopped earning interest, but have not been cashed. To learn more, visit the United States Treasury website at www.treasurydirect.gov.
How do I find a lost insurance policy that is not on the unclaimed property list?
If you believe you may be entitled to benefits from a life insurance policy, the American Council of Life Insurers offers these suggestions for conducting your own search for old policies.
- Check your loved one's papers and address and telephone books to look for life insurance policies and the names of insurance agents. Contact every insurance company with which they may have had a policy, even if you're not sure the policy is still in force.
- Check with the employee benefits office at their latest and previous places of employment. Or, check with the union welfare office.
- Check bank books and canceled checks for the last few years to see if any checks may have been written to pay life insurance premiums.
- Check the mail for one year after death for premiums notices, which usually are spent annually. If a policy has been paid up, there will not be any notice of premium payments due. However, the company may still send an annual notice regarding the status of the policy or it may pay or send notice of a dividend.
- Review your loved one's income tax returns for the past two years. Look for interest income from and interest expenses paid to life insurance companies. Life insurance companies pay interest on accumulations on permanent policies and charge interest on policy loans.
- Contact the life insurance companies directly to see if a policy exists. Each state insurance department has a listing of life insurance companies licensed to business in its state.
- The Kentucky Department of Insurance may be able to provide additional assistance.
Filing a Claim: What to do and what to expect
What type of proof is needed to verify a claim?
There are two types of proof that need to be satisfied for every claim before it can be paid. The first is proof that the person making the claim is who they say they are (prove that you are John/Jane Doe). The second is proof that ties the claimant to the unclaimed property account (prove you are the correct John/Jane Doe). Section D of the claim form provides specific instructions on what evidence you must provide to support your claim. Failure to provide all the required documentation will delay the processing of your claim.
Upon review of your claim, other documentation may be requested by the Unclaimed Property Division to establish ownership and/or entitlement. The Division has sole discretion to determine the sufficiency of documentation to allow for payment.
What if I lost or do not have my social security card?
You may provide a copy of a W-2, tax return, or another official document that shows your name and Social Security Number.
Is it safe to provide your office with my social security number?
Personal information relating to unclaimed property claimants, including Social Security Numbers, is confidential. Your social security number is necessary in order for a state check to be issued to you. The Kentucky State Treasury takes the privacy and protection of personal information seriously. For more information about the laws regarding the protection of personal information obtained by the Unclaimed Property Division, please review KRS 393A.770 to 393A.830.
What if I can’t provide proof of the reported address?
We will do everything we can to assist you in establishing ownership. If you can’t submit proof of address, write a simple note explaining this was a previous mailing address, but you are unable to provide proof. We will research your information and attempt to verify the address. Any pertinent information you provide regarding the address can assist us in our research.
Examples for Proof of Address
- Auto Registration
- Bank Statement
- Birth Certificates
- Blank or Canceled Check
- Church Records
- Court Documents
- Credit Report
- Death Certificate
- Deposit Slip
- Divorce Decree
- Income Tax Return
- Insurance Policy
- Lease Agreements
- Letter from 911 Office verifying new and old address
- Marriage Certificate
- Medical Card
- Medical Records
- Military Records
- Old Driver's License
- Pay Stub
- Postmarked Envelope Addressed to You
- Report Card
- School Records/Transcripts
- Stock Certificate
- Utility Statement
- Work Records
What do I do if there is another owner listed on my account?
Joint owners must file together. If this is not possible, please include as much information and supporting documentation to show your claim to the unclaimed property. Examples of supporting documentation include, but are not limited to, a copy of the joint owner's death certificate, a divorce property settlement listing the final division of assets, a quit-claim deed, a letter of release/no interest. Because of the complexities of such properties, additional information or documentation may be required.
What is a "notary public"?
According to the National Notary Association, a Notary Public is an official appointed to serve the public as an impartial witness to the signing of important documents. Banks and other financial institutions often have notaries on staff and those that do not can typically direct you to a notary.
What does it mean when you ask if the estate was probated?
Probate means the decedent’s estate was overseen by a court of law. For information on probate and court documents, you can contact the County District Court in the county where the probate originally took place or the county where the original owner deceased. If nothing was previously overseen by a court, you may contact the County District Court in the county where the original owner deceased. You may need to ask for the Probate Division.
Is there a time limit for filing a claim?
No. Unclaimed property is always available to the owner.
Can I fax the claim form?
No. We do not accept faxed or emailed claim forms. Forms must be sent in with original signatures.
I have more than one claim to submit. May I send them together in one envelope with only one set of the proof requested?
Yes. You may submit all the claim forms in one envelope. You do not need to send multiple copies of the same proof - such as your photo identification. All claim forms need to be signed.
I have all my paperwork ready. Can I come into the Unclaimed Property Office to file my claim?
Yes. The Unclaimed Property Office sees visitors Monday-Friday from 8 AM to 4 PM. Claims are processed in the order they are received in our office so coming to our office does not expedite processing of your claim. A check will not be issued immediately if you visit the Kentucky Treasury.
I have had a change in address since I filed my claim; what do I do?
If you have moved since you filed your claim with our office, you can submit your change in address to our office by mail, fax, or email. Changes in address should include your name and claim number.
How long will it take to receive my check?
The length of time it will take for your claim to be completed depends on the number of claims received prior to your claim. We review claims in the order received. For an update on your claim or to check the status of our current backlog, you may contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
. Please be sure to include the claim identification number.
Once my claim is approved, can my refund be direct deposited?
No, we cannot direct deposit funds. A check will be sent to the address you listed on your claim form.
I received my check but it was for $0. What does this mean?
Your funds have been intercepted by a federal, state, or local agency because of an outstanding debt. Your check stub includes contact information for the agency that intercepted your funds. You will need to contact the intercepting agency directly for more information.
Stocks and Securities
Will the Treasury issue a 1099 for these assets?
The Commonwealth of Kentucky does not issue 1099s. The Kentucky State Treasury and its employees cannot provide legal or tax advice. For questions regarding taxes, you may need to contact a tax preparer, the Department of Revenue, or the reporting company or "Holder."
Am I entitled to any dividends or stock splits for my securities while they are being held by your office?
Any dividends or transactions that occurred while in the account of the state will be added to your property.
How are securities accounts paid?
Securities claims are not issued Stock Certificates any longer. Due to SEC regulations, most stocks are transferred electronically and deposited into an account for the owner. Once your claim is approved, the state will request the transfer agent to transfer the stock into your account. You may receive documentation from the transfer agent that will require your signature to open a new account.
The company holding my stocks did not call me prior to transferring those stocks to the state. What recourse do I have?
First, contact the company directly to ask for a copy of the due diligence letter and to ask why the company originally declared your account dormant or inactive. You may also want to ask the company for information about how to best keep your account active. At the state level, to launch an inquiry, report potential fraud, or receive additional information regarding a securities entity or individual regulated by the Kentucky Department of Financial Institutions (DFI), contact DFI directly. In some cases, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (FINRA) can help you resolve a conflict with a financial services professional.
What is the process of returning mutual fund shares to their owners?
Once your claim has been approved, you will receive a check for any unpaid cash, proceeds, dividends, etc. Unclaimed Property Staff will then send a Letter of Authorization (LOA) to our Custodian. Unclaimed Property Division staff are not licensed to trade or transfer shares, therefore, requests to sell or transfer are made to the Custodian who then processes the request. In order to transfer the shares back to the owner, a new account must be set up (or re-established) in the owner's name. Once the new account is established, the Custodian can then transfer the shares to the owner's account. Upon successful transfer, you will begin receiving statements again from that company.
A request to transfer stock shares back to the owner has been made by Unclaimed Property Division staff. What does this mean?
Once your claim has been approved, you will receive a check for any unpaid cash, proceeds, dividends, etc. Unclaimed Property Staff will then send a Letter of Authorization (LOA) to our Custodian. Unclaimed Property Division staff are not licensed to trade or transfer shares, therefore, requests to sell or transfer are made to the Custodian who then processes the request. These types of stock transfers can typically take 2-6 weeks for the transfer to be completed. This timeframe is always subject to change pending any unforeseen circumstances which may arise. After the transfer is completed, you will begin receiving statements again from that company.
What is a custodian?
A custodian is a type of financial institution that holds customers' securities for safekeeping so as to minimize the risk of their theft or loss. A custodian holds securities and other assets in electronic or physical form. A custodian can move funds into brokerage accounts, buy or sell securities, or report activity to the owner.
What is a transfer agent?
Transfer agents are used by companies to prepare and maintain documents and records relating to shareholder accounts (i.e. securities). They focus on buying and selling records of securities within funds.
How do I locate the transfer agent for a stock?
In many cases, you can find the transfer agent for a certain company or stock by searching the company's name on the internet. You may also want to visit the company's investor relations website, call the company directly, or ask your broker. Transfer agents can change often, based on the company's needs.
What are fractional shares?
These are a share of equity that is less than one full share. Fractional shares may be a result of dividend reinvestments, stock splits, or similar corporate actions.
What are dividends?
A distribution of a portion of a company's earnings, decided by their board of directors, paid to a class of its shareholders. Dividends can be issued as cash payments, shares of stock, or other property.
Do companies still issue paper stock certificates?
Some companies no longer issue paper stock certificates as physical paper stock certificates have been mostly replaced with electronic recording of stock or transferring stock through the Direct Registration System (DRS). However, when you own shares in a corporation that still provides paper stock certificates, you can be issued paper stocks.
Holders & The Process for Submitting Unclaimed Property
What is negative reporting?
Negative reporting is NO LONGER required in Kentucky. Some states require that holders submit reports even if they have zero properties to report for a reporting season, but this is no longer the case in Kentucky. This means that if you do not have any properties to report, you are not required to submit a report.
How do I know if I am holding unclaimed property?
The type of organization you are and the type of accounts you administer will determine what you are required to report as unclaimed property. You will need to review unclaimed property dormancy periods to find which periods apply to you and then review your own records in light of these dormancy periods. Reporting periods and timelines are available in the Holder Book.
How do I submit unclaimed property I am holding to the Kentucky State Treasury?
The first step is to create a file in the NAUPA Format, using the services of one of the various applicable third-party vendors. You can see a list of various vendors' software to create the NAUPA file on page 5 of the Holder Book.
The second step is to register with the State Treasury's Online Reporting Portal and then upload the NAUPA file. The portal is available here. When registering for the Portal, please ensure that ALL boxes are completed. Leaving boxes blank will delay your confirmation. Please also be sure to check your spam folder, as your confirmation may also end up there.
What is a NAUPA File?
NAUPA stands for National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators. A NAUPA File is a formatted file required by the Unclaimed Property Division to make electronic filing more uniform.
When preparing to report, where do I get Property Codes?
Property codes with dormancy periods are in the Holder Book. All mandatory boxes must be completed. If boxes are left blank, this will cause an error when uploading the report and the file will not upload.
Where are Relationship and Owner Codes?
See the Holder Book for these codes. All mandatory boxes must be completed. If boxes are left blank, this will cause an error when uploading the report and the file will not upload.
Where are Safekeeping Codes for Safe Deposit Boxes reported?
Safekeeping codes can be found in the Holder Book. You must identify the contents in safe deposit boxes with these Safekeeping Codes. All mandatory boxes must be completed. If boxes are left blank, this will cause an error when uploading the report and the file will not upload.
Why do I have to use the web portal? Why am I no longer able to email the file or burn it onto a CD as I have done in the past?
The Unclaimed Property Division strives to be up to date with the latest reporting methods. Web Portal reporting is the current standard method of submission across the country. Starting with the 2019 Reporting Season, it is mandatory for Holders to use the web portal. There are no exceptions. The web portal enables the unclaimed property reports to be imported into our system in the most efficient way, which is important as our office receives a large volume of reports annually. This also ensures that the property is available to be claimed by owners sooner, too.
I have registered and uploaded my report file through the web portal, but it is giving me a rejection message due to errors. What do I do?
In the event your report is rejected due to errors, click the "Download Errors" button and download the error report (it will be a word document file). The error report will show you what is causing the report to be rejected. Check the resource link that is at the bottom of the error report for more information. Once the error is corrected, recreate the file and attempt to load it again. If there are no errors detected, you will progress to the next screen leading to report submission.
If you return to the main page of the web portal by clicking on the "State Holder Reporting" header, it will show a list of all the reports you have submitted. By clicking on a report in the list, it will show more details about that report. To the right is a Document Locator/Reference number. If the number starts with the letter W, that is an indication that your report submitted to the web portal. There are two payment options. By clicking on the "Mail Payment" button, you are able to print out a summary sheet of your submission as confirmation. That document can be submitted to our office along with a check payment. You can also choose to pay online by clicking the ACH Debit Payment option.