FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q. What is Unclaimed Property?
A. Unclaimed property is any financial asset for which an owner has not generated
activity for an extended period of time. This may include savings, checking, certificate
of deposit accounts; payroll (wages, bonuses, commissions); stocks and bonds (uncashed
dividends, interest checks, underlying shares principle); insurance proceeds; credit
balances; customer deposits; travelers checks; money orders and other intangible
interests or benefits.
Q. How does property become unclaimed?
A. Ohio Revised Code Chapter 169 states that accounts become unclaimed when, over
a specified period of time there has been no activity, and the holder of the funds
cannot locate the owner. The time frame varies depending on the property but in
most cases, it is three to five years. One exception is payroll checks, which are
only held for one year. The funds are then turned over to the State, which acts
as custodian of the funds until they can be returned to the rightful owner.
All states have unclaimed property laws, however, the dormancy
periods vary from state to state.
Q. Why does the State of Ohio have unclaimed funds laws?
A. Three reasons:
- To protect the property rights of the owner and to reunite the owner with the funds;
- To provide a centralized location of contact for potential owners of unclaimed funds;
- To provide the holders relief from liability.
Before the unclaimed funds laws were enacted, corporation
and financial institutions absorbed unclaimed accounts as profits and the money
was lost forever to the rightful owners.
Q. How does the Division of Unclaimed Funds locate the owners?
A. In 1997, the Division activated its Internet website, at
www.unclaimedfundstreasurehunt.ohio.gov which contains a searchable
database. To date, it is the most
popular site among other state sites with a link to other states and
background information on unclaimed funds. A claim form can be requested
on-line . The Division of Unclaimed Funds annually publishes the names of
unclaimed property owners reported in the previous year in all of Ohio’s
88 counties. We also participate in DOC's booth at the state fair.
Q. Who holds unclaimed property?
A. "Holders" are private business enterprises, public corporations, financial institutions,
non-profit organizations and all other entities that maintain account balances,
write checks, or hold funds in escrow for another person or persons. The only entities
exempt from reporting are political subdivisions and 501.C3 hospitals (refer to
section 169.01(D)(2) of the Ohio Revised Code). Top
Q. Where does unclaimed property go?
A. Every state and the District of Columbia have an unclaimed or abandoned property
laws. It is each state’s responsibility to administer its law accordingly. In Ohio,
the responsibility lies with the Department of Commerce, Division of Unclaimed Funds.
In other states, that responsibility may lie with the Treasurer, Comptroller, or
other State agencies. In all cases, the property is held by the state for the owner
or heir in a custodial nature. In almost all cases, including Ohio, the money never
reverts to the state, but is held forever until the rightful owner claims it.
Q. What will happen to the contents of my safe deposit box?
A. The contract between you and your financial institution will state the length
of time that they will hold your box after inactivity. After that time, contents
will be turned over to the Division of Unclaimed Funds. Periodically, the Division
may conduct an auction. The proceeds from the sale will be credited to an account
in your name, less any bank liens, and will be paid to you or your heirs upon filing
a valid claim. When claimed, all contents will be returned to the rightful owner.
Q. What will happen to my investment accounts (i.e., stock, bonds, mutual funds)
if I do not maintain contact with my broker or the company in which my funds are
A. Your investment accounts will be turned over to the Division of Unclaimed Funds
and will be liquidated upon receipt. The proceeds from the sale of your stock will
be credited to an account in your name until such time you or your heirs submit
a valid claim.
Q. What about real estate, boats and cars?
A. These items are considered tangible property and the division does not hold tangible
Q. Why can’t I find some of the unclaimed funds on the Internet?
A. The Internet web site is updated weekly. In some cases, you may find out
about an account that is too new to appear on the website. That account will appear
the next time the website is updated. Funds reported without a name will not appear
on the website and will require additional
Q. How can I prevent my property from being turned over to the State?
A. Keep accurate and current records of bank accounts, insurance policies, stock
certificates, utility and rent deposits, and safe deposit box locations.
- Keep accounts active through customer-initiated contact with the holders of your
property through activity on your account, (not merely the accrual of interest).
- Cash all checks for dividends, wages, refunds, and insurance settlements.
- Notify a family member or trusted advisor of the location of your records.
- Prepare a check list of the above items to be used for notifying all concerned parties
if you change your address.
- Notify companies you have business relationship with whenever you move or change
Q. What should I do if I think I may have unclaimed funds?
A. Contact our office at 1-877-644-6823 and provide your current name, current address
and any prior addresses or counties in Ohio in which you lived along with any prior
names you have used, such as maiden names. Or you can click
here to search for unclaimed funds on-line. If you find accounts belonging
to you or someone you know, you can print the claim form, complete it and return
it to us with all required documentation at the above address or, if you are unable
to print the form, you can submit the information to us on-line and we will mail
a claim form to you.
Pursuant to section 169.06
of the Ohio Revised Code, you must possess a property interest in an unclaimed
account in order to request a claim form. A property interest can include
ownership or a right to the unclaimed funds; however, you may also request a claim
form for a family member or friend.
Be advised that the information provided on this website
is for the use of the general public and is not intended for paid, professional
finders. These listings do not contain sufficient information to enable preparation
of the required full-disclosure contract, nor is a "check received date" available
for calculation of the 24 month waiting period. If you have questions, please
e-mail us at email@example.com
Q. How will I know where my unclaimed funds came from?
A. The source and type of the funds will be listed on the claim form. The searchable
database on our website also includes the name of the original holder.
Q. Is there a time limit for claiming funds?
A. No, the funds are held until the rightful owners claim them. When the division
requires additional proof, you will receive notification from our office with instructions
for providing the additional documents within 60 days before the claim is closed.
You may always reopen a claim.
Q. How do I establish ownership?
A. The Division does not pay a claim on the basis of name alone. Proof may be as
simple as a document that shows your name and Social Security number, or proves
that you lived at the reported address on file with the Division. After you
complete a claim form, the Division will notify you if additional documentation is
required. The next eight questions relate directly to the proof required by the
If you are not the original owner, you must first prove
that the account belonged to the original owner; then you must prove you are entitled
to the original owner’s money.
Q. What are some examples of minimum
proof of claim?
A. First, always provide a clear copy of your photo I.D. For proof of address, you
may send a clear photo copy of a document with your name and the reported address
listed in box B on the claim form. This may include a driver’s license, State ID,
work ID, income tax return, mortgage deed, bank loan papers, auto registration,
divorce decree, birth certificate, report card, college transcript, bank statement,
insurance papers, medical card.
Although optional, proof of social security number may
be helpful in some cases. You may send a clear photo copy of a document with your
name and Social Security number on it, such as your Social Security card, W-2 or
income tax form.
Q. What do I do if the account
is a joint account?
A. The account will be paid according to how it was originally set up by the owners.
If the account is set up as "John Doe AND Jane Doe" we require proof from both owners
to pay the claim. If the account is set up as "John Doe OR Jane Doe" the account
may be paid to either owner. If you cannot show how the account was set up, it will
be treated as an "AND" account. The Division cannot divide a joint account. It must
be paid in whole. If the account was set up under the Uniform Transfer to Minors
act and the primary owner/child is under the age of 21, only the custodian may claim
the account without a court order. The minor can claim the account at 21 years of
age. If one owner is deceased, and there is right of survivorship, the surviving
owner may claim the entire amount upon proof of the death of the other owner. If
there is no right of survivorship, the surviving owner may claim one-half of the
Q. If I am not the original owner,
or the owner is deceased, how do I prove the claim?
A. First, you must show that the account belonged to the original
owner (minimum proof of claim). Second, you must prove that you are the
rightful recipient of the funds, and you are legally entitled to claim these funds
for the owner, for example if the owner is incapacitated or deceased. If the owner
is incapacitated, the Division will require proper documentation from the Court
to show a guardianship or custodial relationship.
If the original owner is deceased, the Division
will require that you contact the Probate Court in the county where the owner lived
at the time of death. You must obtain documentation from the Probate court that
grants you the right to obtain the funds. Depending on how large the account is,
it might be necessary to reopen the estate. Probate documents must be under current
date filed within the past two (2) years.
Q. Should I provide my social security number?
A. While your Social Security number is optional on the Division of Unclaimed Funds
Claim Form, it may be extremely helpful to the Division in proving your claim.
If you decide to voluntarily provide your Social Security
number to the Division to use as proof of ownership for the funds you are claiming,
the Division will hold your Social Security number in the strictest confidence.
It will be disclosed only to those State of Ohio employees involved with the identification
of the funds and the payment of your claim. If you choose to withhold your Social
Security number, you may be required to provide additional items of identification
and proof of ownership to sufficiently establish your entitlement to the funds you
are claiming. The Division may not have a Social Security number on file for every
account, therefore providing your Social Security number does not guarantee the
payment of your claim In any case, your Social Security number will be required
if the account is eligible for interest.
Q. Am I entitled to interest on my claim?
A. That depends on when your unclaimed funds were received by the State, and how long the funds were held by the State.
• The Division pays 6% interest on individual accounts of $25 or more received by the Division from 1968 to July 26, 1991, with the 6% interest to run through July 26, 1991.
• For the period from July 27, 1991, to August 2, 2000, no interest is paid.
• From August 3, 2000 through October 9, 2012, Sogg class members due $5 or more in interest will be eligible for an interest payment from the Settlement Administrator in the Sogg class action case based on a formula using the actual interest earned by the state. For additional information, visit www.strategicclaims.net/sogg or contact the Settlement Administrator, Strategic Claims Services, at 866-936-1101 (toll free).
• For claimants paid unclaimed funds on or after October 10, 2012, the Division will pay interest on unclaimed funds held on or after August 3, 2000 at a rate equal to 100% of the interest earned by the Department of Commerce on unclaimed funds, plus 40% of the interest earned by other State agencies and departments, as required by the Sogg case.
Q. Does my signature on the claim form have to be notarized?
A. If your claim is for unclaimed funds valued at $100 or more, the claim form must
be notarized. If the amount of the claim is less than $100, it is not necessary
to have the signature notarized.
Q. Where can I find a Notary Public?
A. A Notary Public can be found at your local bank, city and county offices, police
and sheriff’s departments, and most attorney offices.
Q. Why is there $0.00 in the Dollar Amount field?
A. The holder reported stock or Safe Deposit Box contents. Once the stock is sold,
the proceeds can be claimed. Please contact
our office to receive further information or to have a Claim Form mailed to
Please include your complete address in the e-mail.
Q. Do I have to hire a paid professional finder to claim my unclaimed funds?
A. No, you can claim your funds from the Ohio Division of Unclaimed Funds on your
own, without hiring a finder. Anyone can claim unclaimed funds by submitting to
the Division a claim form, along with the required proof of ownership and authority
to recover the funds. Division staff members will assist you throughout the claims
process, and are available to answer your questions. Before entering into a contract
with any finder, contact the Division to make sure the finder is registered under
Ohio law to assist you in recovering funds held by the Department of Commerce.
Q. Does a professional finder have to be licensed or registered to operate in the
State of Ohio?
A. Yes. Under Ohio law, persons engaged in activity for the purpose of locating,
delivering, recovering or assisting in the recovery of unclaimed funds, on behalf
of another person, in exchange for a fee, compensation, commission or other remuneration,
must hold a valid Certificate of Registration from the Director of Commerce. It
is illegal for finders to operate without the required Certificate of Registration.
Click the link provided for a list of the
finders currently registered in Ohio. You also can find out if a finder
is registered by calling the Division toll free at 877-644-6823.
Q. How much may a finder charge for assisting in a claim?
A. Under Ohio law, a finder is not permitted to charge more than 10% of the total
Q. How does the unclaimed funds process work if I decide to hire a paid professional
A. Finder’s agreements must contain specified information under Ohio law. After
a person signs an agreement with a finder, the finder must submit the agreement
to the Division for determination that all requirements are met. Among other requirements
the agreement must specify: The nature and value of the unclaimed funds; the amount
the owner of the funds will receive after the finder’s fee or compensation is subtracted;
a statement that the State of Ohio will pay the unclaimed funds directly to the
owner; a statement that the finder is not an employee or agent of the Department
of Commerce; a statement that the Commerce director is not a party to the agreement;
a statement that the finder holds a valid Certificate of Registration issued by
the Commerce Director; and the registration certificate number and expiration date.
If the agreement between the finder and the owner of the unclaimed funds meets all
requirements, the Division sends the claim form to the finder. The finder or the
property owner later returns the original, signed form to the Division for processing,
along with the proof of ownership. If proof
requirements are met, the Division processes the claim and sends payment
of the unclaimed funds to the owner of the unclaimed property. It is the owner’s
responsibility to pay the finder. Ohio Administrative
Q. Are there any restrictions imposed on finders under Ohio law?
A. Yes. In order to allow the owners of unclaimed property time to claim the funds
on their own, a person interested in entering into an agreement to act as a finder
is not permitted to initiate any contact with an owner of unclaimed funds until
the funds have been with the Division for more than two years. Finders are not permitted
to engage in finding activity for the recovery of funds reported to the Division
without a valid certificate of registration; and finders are prohibited from operating
under an invalid finder’s agreement. Engaging in finder activity in the State of
Ohio under an invalid finder agreement or without having first obtained a certificate
of registration from the Director of Commerce is a misdemeanor of the first degree
for a first offense and a felony of the fifth degree for any subsequent offense.
Q. Where can I find more information on the laws and rules regulating finders in
A. You may refer to the Division’s laws and regulations on-line by clicking on the
Ohio Revised Code,
Q. How can I apply for a finder certificate of registration?
A. To obtain an application for finder certification, contact Neal Coryell by calling
toll free at 877-644-6823. You also may submit a request in writing, along with
your name, address and telephone number, to Ohio Department of Commerce, Division
of Unclaimed Funds, 77 S. High Street, 20th Floor, Columbus, OH 43215. Requests,
which must include the name, address and telephone number of the requester, may
also be submitted by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q. How do I report illegal finder activity?
A. To report illegal finding activity contact the Division by calling toll free
at 877-644-6823, or writing the Division at Ohio Department of Commerce, Division
of Unclaimed Funds, 77 S. High Street, 20th Floor, Columbus, OH 43215. Complaints
or inquiries may also be submitted by e-mail to
Q.Who must file an Annual Report of Unclaimed Funds?
A. All businesses that are located and/or operate in the State of Ohio or hold funds due to Ohio residents are required to file an Annual Report of Unclaimed Funds. CPAs or Attorneys that are in private practice are required to file an Annual Report of Unclaimed Funds. CPAs and Attorneys not in private practice do not have to file separately from the firms for which they work. The only entities exempt from reporting are political subdivisions of the State, and I.R.C. 501(c)(3) tax exempt hospitals.
Q.What types of accounts can become reportable unclaimed funds and when do they
A. All intangible property unclaimed by its owner(s) for a specific period of time which may include savings accounts checking accounts, unclaimed wages, dividends, credit balances and many other types of outstanding checks and balances payable. A detailed list of accounts that are reportable as unclaimed funds, dormancy periods and Nature of Funds Codes is available in the Annual Report of Unclaimed Funds Forms, Instructions and Information booklet (Booklet).
Q.Are any types of accounts exempt from unclaimed funds reporting requirements?
A. Yes, there are three (3) types of accounts that are exempt from the unclaimed
funds reporting in Ohio. They are:
- Wages less than $50.00 issued on or after July 1, 2000.
- Gift Certificates
- Business to Business Transactions which are limited to funds paid or received as
the result of the company’s receipt or issuance of an invoice.
See the Annual Report of Unclaimed Funds Forms, Instructions and Information booklet for a more information about accounts that are exempt from Ohio’s unclaimed funds reporting requirements.
Q.What are Ohio's unclaimed funds reporting deadlines?
A. The State’s annual unclaimed funds reporting deadline for all companies, with
the exception of Life Insurance companies, is November 1. The reporting deadline
for Life Insurance companies is May 1.
Q.Can my company get an extension if we need more time to file our unclaimed funds
A. Can my company get an extension if we need more time to file our unclaimed funds report?
Company’s can obtain up to an additional 120 days to file their unclaimed funds report by completing the Application for Automatic Extension of Time form in the Annual Report of Unclaimed Funds Forms, Instructions and Information booklet and mailing or faxing it to the State. The extension of time is automatic upon filing, no confirmation will be sent.
Q.Is a negative report of unclaimed funds required?
A. If a diligent search has shown that the company is not holding any unclaimed funds or if all dormant accounts are eliminated as a result of the company’s research and due-diligence mailing of the OUF-8 Notice of Unclaimed Funds, they must file a Negative (NONE) Report. The Negative (NONE) Report may be filed either using the OUF-1 Annual Report of Unclaimed Funds form or electronically through the Ohio Business Gateway. See the Annual Unclaimed Funds Review Guidelines in the Annual Report of Unclaimed Funds Forms, Instructions and Information booklet for more information about filing a Negative (NONE) Report. The negative reporting requirement is required by section 1301:10-3-03(B) of the Ohio Administrative Code.
Q.Is there a minimum dollar amount to be remitted?
A. There is no minimum reportable dollar amount for unclaimed accounts. The only exception is wages less than $50.00 issued on or after July 1, 2000 are not reportable unclaimed funds.
Q.What is Ohio’s aggregate reporting limit?
A. Applicable accounts with balance less than $50.00 must be reported as an Aggregate total if a paper report is filed with the State. Companies that file electronically may submit the owner and account information for accounts with a balance less than $50.00 which will be uploaded to the State’s master file of unclaimed funds.
Q.Can unclaimed funds be reported early?
A. Section 169.11, of the Revised Code, allows for the early reporting of unclaimed funds. The company must comply with the due diligence mailing requirement and reporting requirements of section 169.03 O.R.C., see the Annual Unclaimed Funds Review Guidelines in the Annual Report of Unclaimed Funds Forms, Instructions and Information booklet for more information.
Q.Can companies report unclaimed funds electronically?
A. Companies that would like to file their Annual Report of Unclaimed Funds electronically to report unclaimed funds have two (2) options. First, the HRS Pro-Holder Reporting System is a user-friendly Windows based application that will run on a personal computer. Second, to accommodate companies with a mainframe system, and those using a third party vendor to file their Annual Report of Unclaimed Funds, the State accepts reports submitted in NAUPA II Standard Electronic File Format. The State will accept electronic reports submitted in either of the above formats output to CD-Rom or uploaded through the Ohio Business Gateway . See the following question for additional information regarding unclaimed funds Internet reporting.
Please see Electronic Reporting Options in the Annual Report of Unclaimed Funds Forms, Instructions and Information booklet for instructions for downloading the HRS Pro application, HRS Pro User’s Manual, HRS Pro How To Guide or NAUPA II Standard File Format.
Q.Can companies file their Annual Report of Unclaimed Funds via the Internet?
A. The Ohio Department of Commerce, Division of Unclaimed Funds, in conjunction with the Ohio Business Gateway (OBG ), is pleased to offer companies the option of filing their Annual Report of Unclaimed Funds on-line via the Internet. If your company currently files reports with other State agencies through the OBG you may use your existing Username and Password to login and file. First time users will have to register their company with the OBG prior to filing. Companies may report unclaimed funds on-line through the OBG by uploading a NAUPA II Standard Electronic File and paying the balance due to the State via ACH Transfer. To report your company’s unclaimed funds on-line, or file a Negative (NONE) report, login to the OBG at www.business.ohio.gov. On-line help & support, tutorials and telephone support are available from the OBG website.
Q.Who do I make the check (certificate) out too?
A. The check for the remittance of unclaimed funds should be made payable to the Ohio Department of Commerce, Division of Unclaimed Funds.
Securities, other than those from safe deposit box contents, must be remitted in the name of the Ohio Department of Commerce, Division of Unclaimed Funds. Stock certificates from safe deposit boxes or other safekeeping repository are reportable as found.
Q.What happens if a company does not report?
A. The company may incur civil penalties of $200.00 per day and/or a criminal penalty of up to $500.00 a day for failure to report unclaimed funds, or under reporting unclaimed funds and interest at a rate of 2% per month on the balance of unclaimed funds due.