Glossary of Unclaimed Property Terms

 

Terms

Definitions

Abandoned or Unclaimed Property 

Tangible or intangible property that is unclaimed by its rightful owner after a significant period of time.

Abandonment Period 

The period of inactivity (usually 3-5 years) after which property is considered abandoned.

Activity 

Action taken on property by the owner including making a deposit or a withdrawal, or a memorandum of correspondence by the owner to the holder.

Aggregate Amount 

The amount below which holders need not include the name and last known address of the owner with the report. The aggregate amount in Vermont is $25.00.

Custodian 

An individual or entity that holds property until it is delivered to the rightful owner. Most states' laws make the State the "custodian" of the abandoned property.

Date of Last Activity 

The date of the owner's last activity on the property or the owner's contact with the holder.

Due Diligence 

As required by Vermont statute, this represents the degree of effort a holder of abandoned property would reasonably make in order to find the rightful owner of property before the property is remitted to the state.

Asset or Heir Finders 

Heir finders or asset locators are individuals or companies that offer to reunite the apparent owner or heirs with unclaimed property, for a fee.

Holder 

The entity that controls abandoned property until it is transferred to the owner or to the state on behalf of the owner.

Indemnification 

An agreement that protects the holder from loss by transferring the legal responsibilities to a third party (the State).

Missing Owner 

A "Missing Owner" is a person who has left an asset somewhere (bank account, safe deposit box, payroll check, utility deposit, etc.) and cannot be located by the company holding the asset in order to return it. This differs from "Owner" only slightly, in that an "Owner" is generally at the same address on file with the company but has simply forgotten or lost tract of the asset.

Official Check 

A check or written instrument for which a bank, financial organization, or business association is directly liable, including but not limited to drafts, money orders, traveler's checks, cashier's checks, expense and payroll checks.

Owner 

A person having a legal or equitable claim to the abandoned property.

Person 

Any individual, business association, government or public subdivision, public corporation or authority, estate, trust, two or more persons having a joint or common interest; or any other legal or commercial entity.

Report 

List of the owners of unclaimed property that a holder sends each year to the State Treasurer along with the remittance of the property's value.

Tangible Personal Property 

Property that is physical, such as a diamond ring or a silver coin.

Underlying Shares 

Shares of stock that have been issued by a business association, or a banking or financial organization. The original certificate for the shares is in the possession of the shareholders, who have failed to either cash the dividend checks or correspond with the issuing corporation.

Voluntary Compliance 

A program that allows banks, businesses, government agencies and other entities to turn over unclaimed assets to all participating states without the fear of penalties or interest. The Voluntary Compliance Program is an attempt to alleviate the reluctance of holders to report their abandoned funds.

Warrants 

Uncashed checks issued by state agencies or departments.