What/Who is a Fee Finder?
A Fee Finder (Heir/Certified Finder) is a person that seeks to find Unclaimed Property and return it to rightful property owners (or heirs) for a fee.
Is a percentage set by Utah for fee finding?
Are there guidelines that Fee Finders must follow?
Yes. They must follow the provisions of the Unclaimed Property Act, Utah Code Annotated, Title 67, Chapter 4a. Some of the key stipulations are provided in the additional FAQ's that follow.
Are there any time requirements?
Yes. Fee Finders must wait 24 months after the delivery of any property to the Unclaimed Property Division before any agreement they make to recover or assist in the recovery of that property is valid.
How do I gain access to the Unclaimed Property records?
The information that is not private can be searched online at our website. Anyone can search our online database to review the properties available. Unclaimed Property records of this office are classified as private data as described in the "Government Records Access Management Act." We do not give or sell a list of individuals or properties that will be used for commercial purposes. Claim forms for specific properties may be submitted by:
- The reported owner;
- In the case of property reported in the name of a deceased person, the executor, administrator, or personal representative of an owner's estate, or an heir if there is no will or the probate is closed; or
- A second party (such as a fee finder) upon receipt of a power of attorney signed by the owner(s) or, in the case of a deceased person, signed by the personal representative or legal heir, if there is no will or probate has closed.
Are there any special requirements regarding the power of attorney?
Yes. The Unclaimed Property Division provides a sample "specific" power of attorney (click on Forms on our home page and the Sample Power of Attorney Form will be listed there). "General" powers of attorney are not acceptable. The power of attorney MUST adhere to the following:
- The original power of attorney must be submitted to this office. Copies are not acceptable.
- Specific authorization must be given for this office to release the information from Government Private Data Files.
- The power of attorney CANNOT contain any contractual provisions (such as fee or percentage charged, etc.). Any powers containing contractual provisions will be returned as unacceptable. The finder contract must be a separate document and should not be sent to this office.
- Powers of attorney will not be accepted from banks or other financial institutions or State agencies.
- Powers of attorney signed on behalf of a corporation, business, or any federal agency must be signed by an official with authority to commit the corporation or business to the fee-finding agreement. Proof of the signer's association with the entity and authority to enter into contracts for the entity must be sent with the power of attorney.
- Instructions on payment. Only one check is prepared.
- If the check is to be made out in both names (i.e., claimant and fee finder), specific mailing instructions are required. The check will be mailed to the claimant, unless specific instructions indicate otherwise.
- If the check is to be made out in the name of the fee finder only, the power of attorney must specifically grant authority to sign the claim form and receive payment on behalf of the owner.
Who must report Unclaimed Property?
All holders must report. A holder is any legal or commercial entity which is holding property that is considered abandoned and subject to the state's custody as abandoned property under the Unclaimed Property Act. This would include business associations, government entities, public corporations, public authorities, estates, trusts, or two or more persons having a joint or common interest. The Utah Unclaimed Property Act (Section 67-4a et.seq.) requires that a holder report to the Unclaimed Property Division of the State Treasurer's Office any property which is presumed to be "abandoned" or "unclaimed" after the stated dormancy period for each property type.
Is Unclaimed Property a new reporting requirement?
No. Utah first adopted unclaimed property legislation in 1957, and that act carried a 20-year reach back period. Every U.S. state, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands - and Quebec, British Columbia and Alberta in Canada have unclaimed property programs.
Is Unclaimed Property a tax?
No, Unclaimed Property is not a tax. It represents the transfer of an outstanding liability from a business or government (a holder) to the State, which will keep the property in trust until it is returned to the rightful owner.
When is property considered abandoned and subject to Unclaimed Property laws?
Property is considered to be abandoned or unclaimed when:
- The property is held, issued, or owing by a holder; and
- The identity, status or present location of the apparent owner is unknown; and
- The required dormancy period for the property type(s) has been reached.
Does a company have to report prior obligations that have been reversed to an expense account, taken to income, or otherwise been written off?
Yes, past obligations that have been written off or taken to income are reportable. The Unclaimed Property Act prevents businesses from circumventing the unclaimed property process by making a private escheat.
Is disputed property reportable?
When the holder is aware that the ownership interest of the apparent owner is in dispute or unsettled, the property is not reportable.
Is there a minimum amount that is reportable?
No. The Act does not provide an exemption based on a minimum amount.
Can penalties be imposed?
Yes. The Unclaimed Property Act does provide for interest, penalties and fees, when warranted.
What are Utah's due diligence requirements?
For reportable property, the holder is required to send written notice to the apparent owner not more than 120 days before filing a report. This notice is not required where the holder's records indicate the last known address of the owner is inaccurate, or where the value of the property is less than $50.
What are the filing requirements for an annual report?
Utah's reporting period is yearly and the dormancy periods are calculated as of June 30th. Annual reports containing property reportable as of June 30th are to be remitted by November 1st.
How does a holder file a report?
Holders are encouraged to file reports electronically. Free software is downloadable at www.mine.utah.gov. Nil or zero dollar reports are not required by law but may reduce the probability of an audit.
Can I get a copy of the Utah Unclaimed Property Act?
If you have additional questions, please feel free to call the Unclaimed Property Division of the Utah State Treasurer's Office at (801) 715-3300 (option 4 for holder questions) or (888) 217-1203 and ask for reporting compliance information or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Is there a deadline for making a claim?
No. You can make a claim anytime since Unclaimed Property is kept in a custodial capacity until the rightful owner or heir can be found.
Is there a charge or fee for this program?
Can I fax the claim form?
Yes, but we will still need the original form delivered to our office. We must have your original signature on the form in order to process payment.
How do I obtain or provide proof of previous address?
A copy of an old bill, e.g., a utility bill, a copy of an old tax return, or old correspondence will suffice. Anything that officially lists your previous address is sufficient. If you're unsure, contact our office for help.
What if I lost or do not have my social security card?
A copy of a tax return, insurance card, or any other document that shows your social security number will suffice. If you're unsure, contact our office for help.
How do I provide proof of name change?
A copy of a marriage certificate or court document showing the name change is sufficient.
How do I claim for a deceased person?
Provide documentation that shows your relationship or right to claim, e.g., an obituary or court documents listing you as the representative of the estate. If there is not a valid will or trust, we will follow Utah's intestate succession rules. If you're not sure you can claim, or want to claim just your portion, contact our office for help.
Why do I need an obituary when claiming for a deceased person?
The obituary usually lists surviving heirs. This may help in determining your eligibility to claim.
I just visited the web site and I'm not sure what to do.
Search for your name, and if you find it and believe the property belongs to you, follow the instructions for filling out a claim online.
I submitted a claim online and am trying to check the status, but my claim is no longer available. How do I get the status of my claim?
Once you've submitted your claim online, it's imported into our system for processing. At that point, it's removed from the online listing while your claim is evaluated. You may obtain the current claim status by calling (801) 715-3300 then choose option 1 and option 1 again and enter your claim number.
Be sure to mail a hard copy of the claim with your signature, along with the requested documentation so that things can move quickly. You can contact our office directly for the status or details of your claim.
Do I need a notary?
Normally, yes; but it depends on the dollar amount of the claim. Please contact our office and we will advise.
I filed a claim and have not received my money. How long should it take?
It generally takes about two to three weeks to process an average claim. If you are claiming as an heir or for a business it will take longer. More complex claims take more time and work. Some claims may take as long as 90 days. If you have not heard back from us within a few weeks, you may want to contact our office to check on the status of your claim.
If you don't understand what we're requesting, or need assistance of any kind, please contact our office and we'll be happy to help. Call (801) 715-3300 (option 3 for claims questions) or (888) 217-1203 or email us at email@example.com
What is Unclaimed Property?
Unclaimed Property is unclaimed or abandoned intangible property. It represents a certain obligation a company is holding for another person or business. It includes checking and saving accounts, certificates of deposit, overpayments, insurance checks, payroll checks, utility refunds, money orders, un-cashed checks, dividends, stocks, bonds, contents of safe deposit boxes and more.
How does property become unclaimed or abandoned and how can I prevent that from happening to me?
Generally, if the property in question has not had any activity within a certain period of time, e.g., three years for most properties, and the holder is unable to locate the property owner, it is considered abandoned and must be reported to the Unclaimed Property Division of the State Treasurer's Office. To prevent your accounts from becoming unclaimed or abandoned, keep accounts active and make sure that you make a deposit or withdrawal, update your address, or contact your financial institution at least every three years.