Unlike some other states, Washington does not assign responsibility to the Treasurer for unclaimed property. Here, the Department of Revenue oversees unclaimed property, and runs the program to help owners recover what’s theirs. There is no time limit for filing a claim and rightful owners or their heirs can claim property reported since 1955. The state may auction the content of safe deposit boxes, however, if not claimed within five years.
A lot can be at stake.
More than $1 billion in unclaimed property has been turned over to the Department of Revenue since 1955. In fiscal year 2013, the Department’s Unclaimed Property Section received property worth more than $138 million. The amount continues to grow each year. All funds are received and administered through the Department’s Unclaimed Property Program.
Unclaimed property refers to property being held by an organization that has not had contact with the owner for an extended period of time. Property is usually considered unclaimed after three years, when it is turned over to the state of Washington. Banks, retailers, credit unions, utilities, corporations, insurance companies, and governmental entities are some of the many sources of unclaimed property.
The Department of Revenue reports that unclaimed property most often takes the form of:
- Bank accounts
- Insurance proceeds
- Stocks, bonds and mutual funds
- Safe deposit box contents
- Utility and phone company deposits
- Un-cashed checks, such as payroll, insurance payments, or travelers checks
Unclaimed property does not include real estate, vehicles, and most other physical property.
To get answers to frequently asked questions about unclaimed property, go to Revenue’s ClaimYourCash.org web page.
To search the unclaimed property database: http://ucp.dor.wa.gov