Michigan State Treasury houses billions in missing money. The Michigan Department of Treasury has reported this missing money is generally comprised of dormant bank accounts, uncashed checks, valuables left in safe deposit boxes and stock certificates.
By law, these funds and assets are handed over to the state treasury once the owner fails to claim them. The Michigan Department of Treasury acts as the custodian of these funds and assets and returns them to their owners (or the owners’ heirs) when they are rightfully claimed.
On March 28, 1996, the Uniform Unclaimed Property Act came into existence and Michigan State Treasurer is the administrator of this act. This law upholds the right to ownership of the missing funds or assets of the residents, and provides for the reporting and disposition of the unclaimed property.
According to the State Treasurer’s office, “The Michigan Department of Treasury has millions of dollars in lost or forgotten assets from dormant bank accounts, uncashed checks, valuables left in safe deposit boxes and stock certificates. Because these properties were considered abandoned and unclaimed by the bank or company entrusted with them, they are turned over to the state, as required by law. The Michigan Department of Treasury is the custodian of these assets and returns them to their owners (or the owners’ heirs) when they are rightfully claimed. ”
As Michigan is a ‘custodian state’, residents can claim for the unclaimed funds any time after the discovery of their missing money. In a report on MI unclaimed property by ABC’s WZZM 13, the Michigan State Department of Treasury’s Gonzalo Llano said “The funds stay here forever until they are claimed by either the property owner or their heirs should the property owner be deceased,” Michigan Treasury is advising all the current and previous residents to search the state as well as accredited private databases to locate their missing money.
Michigan isn’t the only state facing large amount of unclaimed money. Almost ever state in the U.S. Is sitting on this problem as well, along with most Americans have some form of unclaimed funds waiting for them.
Not all of us are familiar with unclaimed property. And if ever you know about it, you seldom take notice of the need to claim the asset because the amount could be very marginal to merit the trouble of filing a claim. Unknown to you, your failure to claim the asset will be burdensome to your state. The property will be in the custody of the State Treasurer for as long as you have not claimed it.
There are three participants in the Michigan unclaimed property, or for any unclaimed property for that matter. You have the claimant who is the owner of the asset, the holder which has the property until transferred to the state and the state which takes custody of the asset, as represented by the State Treasurer.
The holder has a very vital role in Michigan unclaimed property. It is from the holder that everything commences.
Different kinds of holders of Michigan unclaimed property
Holders of Michigan unclaimed property can be varied. This is because people have different depositories for their financial assets. The most typical type of holder is the bank and other financial institutions. Other types of holders are employers, utility companies, retirement and insurance companies, retailers, private firms and government agencies.
When the account remains dormant in the books of these holders, they have to contact the owners before the account becomes due for escheat to the state. Actually, even before it reaches the stage of dormancy, the holder should endeavor to notify the owner. There arises a problem when the owner had left the given address and moved to another location without leaving a forwarding address. He cannot receive the notice of the holder.
The need for holders to turn over Michigan unclaimed property
Failure to locate the owner can result to dormancy of the account. The holders are obliged to report to the State Treasurer about the presence of dormant accounts. Then, there is a prescribed period for the transfer of the account to the State.
The Michigan Unclaimed Property Division is mandated to protect the properties that are owned by people who cannot be located, that is they are no longer in the last known address. Because protection is to be afforded the owner, the holders have to turn over the assets to the government. The turn over takes place when at the end of the dormancy period, the owner does not contact the holder. For the part of the holder, the notice cannot be delivered because the whereabouts of the owner cannot be determined.
When holders fail to report Michigan unclaimed property
Any holder who fails to report the presence of Michigan unclaimed property incurs a great liability to the state. It can be penalized, aside from the interest to be charged on the unreported items. The penalty is 25% of the amount of the unreported property. Then there is additional interest which is computed based on the value of the property. The interest can be variable because the percentage amount is dependent on the prime rate – 1% above the prime rate.
From the positions of the state treasury and the holder, you will know the burden caused by your Michigan unclaimed property. As a concerned citizen, why don’t you frequently check the unclaimed property listing of your state or the state where you had previously resided? There may be some valuable assets waiting for your recovery.
You have heard about the different unclaimed properties in the different states of America. And this is completely incomprehensible to you. You would then want to know what this is about.
Did you know that when you have not encashed the check issued to you, such money is not lost? It may be in the bank idly waiting for you to claim it. And when you don’t do it over a year, it becomes a dormant account that is transferred to the Treasury of the State. This instance is very common and this is the reason why the Michigan unclaimed property level had gone high. This had turned to be a problem to the government – imagine holding millions or even billions of assets that belong to different unlocated people.
So – what comprises the Michigan unclaimed property? First of all, these are financial assets that are owned by people but remaining untouched in the custody of the bank or holder. The different assets may consist of the following:
• Unclaimed payroll
• Retirement benefits
• Contents of safety deposit boxes
• Escrow accounts
The law on Michigan unclaimed property
Implementation of every Michigan unclaimed property is governed by a law that had been promulgated in the said state. This is known as the “Michigan’s Uniform Unclaimed Property Act”. The main provision of this law is to return all the unclaimed properties to their rightful owners. In the event that the original owner had already died, the return will be made to the surviving heirs. The law provides for the executor of this mandate. The Treasurer of the State of Michigan will have custody of the asset and the owner or heir will claim the return in the Treasurer’s office. The custody is already centralized making it easy for claimants to recover the escheated assets. So if you think you have Michigan unclaimed property, you have only to search in one direction or one place – from the Unclaimed Property Division of the Department of Treasury of Michigan.
What happens to a Michigan unclaimed property
Your financial asset becomes a Michigan unclaimed property when escheated to the government. The State Treasurer of Michigan will assume custody of the escheated property in your behalf. You can claim the property anytime. There is no prescription period for the property so no matter how long it had been in the unclaimed property category, your asset can be recovered. In the event that you die without claiming it, your heirs will have the right to the property.
It pays that you frequently check with the Unclaimed Property Division if there is any Michigan Unclaimed Property under your name. Checking is easy as data are provided in the website of the Michigan Department of Treasury. In the event that you find a property in your name, you can claim it. Again claiming is as easy. You can download a claim form, accomplish it and file the claim.
Why you have to claim Michigan unclaimed property
No matter how small the Michigan unclaimed property is, it is your right to recover what is legally yours. Do you know that if you do not claim such asset, you are adding to the problem of the state treasury? The increasing number of Michigan unclaimed property becomes a burden to the state. The state cannot get or use it; it is just in the state coffers waiting for you to claim.
The list of the unclaimed properties in USA is said to continue increasing. Year after year, banks or holders deliver to the government unclaimed assets. Prior to surrendering the unclaimed asset, the banks or holders exert efforts to find and notify the owner. However, they fail to locate the supposedly claimants and there is no recourse for them but to surrender the property to the government.
The problem is not unique to one state only. In fact, many states had been encountering the problem. The state of Michigan is laden with problems on the increasing amount of Michigan unclaimed property. Oregon, New Jersey and other states in USA have the same problem.
Any owner of the Michigan unclaimed property can recover his assets anytime. In fact there is no prescription time for claiming. The procedure is also made simple. Despite these, a lot of unclaimed properties remain in the custody of the state. The main problem lies in the fact that the owner can no longer be located. Where they had gone is completely unknown – they definitely had changed addresses or had moved to another state without leaving a forwarding address.
Understand what Michigan unclaimed property is
Many do not understand what Michigan unclaimed property means. This could be the reason why many owners of these properties are not aware of their assets. They are misinformed or uninformed. The Michigan unclaimed property is any asset in the state of Michigan which can be tangible or intangible and which had remained unclaimed by the owner for a given period of time. Assets or properties that remain in the bank or any holder need to have some movements within two years. Deposit accounts should have deposits or withdrawals within two years, otherwise the account becomes dormant. And after sometime, the dormant account is escheated to the state. This then becomes an unclaimed property. There are other assets that qualify to be classified in this category – stock certificates, contents of safety deposit box and more.
Reporting a Michigan unclaimed property
The classification of assets as unclaimed property starts with the bank or holder. The assets have to be reported otherwise the bank or holder will be penalized for failure to do so. Different states can have different statutes on this and in Michigan the handling of unclaimed properties is governed by Michigan Unclaimed Property Act. This is also known as Public Act 29 which was promulgated in 1995. Under this law, all businesses as well as government firms are required to report their abandoned properties to the Department of Treasure of Michigan.
There is a prescribed due date for reporting the unclaimed property. Assets being classified as dormant at the end of the first quarter have to be reported first day of the third quarter of the year. All commercial and government companies are provided with instructions on how to perform their obligation to the state and owner. The reportorial requirement is dependent on the total amount of the assets that need to be reported.
Claiming a Michigan unclaimed property
Claimants of the Michigan unclaimed property can be done by the same owner of the property or in case of owner’s death, the claiming can be done by legitimate heirs. Claiming can be done anytime and there is no limit of time for the claim to be undertaken. The property is held by the Unclaimed Property Division of the Department of Treasury of Michigan until the owner or his heirs claim it. There is a prescribed form to accomplish when claiming the property.
Do you know if you have a Michigan unclaimed property? You can start searching from the Michigan Department of Treasure website. You can always try locating; you might have some money waiting for you in the state’s treasury.
Michigan is the 26th state of the United States and it is found in the Great Lake region. The state can be considered to have a big number of residents as it had been categorized as the 8th most populous among the fifty US states. With the enormous population, you are made to believe that every Michigander (how a resident of Michigan is called) may have a Michigan unclaimed property. The problem is that these residents may not be aware about their Michigan unclaimed property.
Michigan Department of Treasury is already problematic about the build-up of Michigan unclaimed property. Every year, banks turn over dormant assets. And these asset types are not distributed, returned or refunded to their rightful owners.
What is Michigan unclaimed property?
An unclaimed property can be tangible or intangible, meaning it can or cannot have any physical presence. The Michigan unclaimed property is therefore an asset that can or cannot be touched or seen. This is a property that is owned by a third person and it had remained unclaimed by the owner. One big reason why owners are not able to recover their dormant assets is that these owners do not know about them. Or – these Michiganders may know about their asset but they are not aware on the procedure for claiming them.
What are samples of these unclaimed properties? One example of this is payroll check that had been uncashed by the payee and it remained as such. Other types are vendor checks, credit balances and account receivables. The uncashed checks should be turned over to the government after one year of being unclaimed whereas the others are turned over after three years. Stock certificates and valuables in safety deposit boxes are also kinds of unclaimed properties.
How to check the Michigan unclaimed property?
As a Michigander, you should check if in anyway, you have a Michigan unclaimed property stashed idly at the Michigan Department of Treasury. What you have to do is very simple. You just visit the website. This is typing www.michigan.gov/treasury in your search box or browser. At the website’s Home Page, click unclaimed property and you can start checking if there is any Michigan unclaimed property in your name. Another way of finding out if you have this asset is by emailing TreasUPD@michigan.gov. For the non technology-oriented individual, you can call (517) 6365320 or write to Michigan Department of Treasury at PO Box 30756 Lansing, Michigan 48909.
Who are eligible to claim Michigan unclaimed property?
The rightful owners or heirs of these owners are always eligible to claim their Michigan unclaimed property. The property is held in trust by the government of Michigan until the owner comes to reclaim. With this, you will understand that there is no time limit for claiming.
To recover your assets, you have to fill up and file a claim form. You can get the form from the Michigan unclaimed property division of the Michigan Department of Treasure or you can also download the form from the department’s website.
Are you now ready to claim dormant assets? There is no harm in finding out if you have any Michigan unclaimed property.