Governor  Dannel P. Malloy
 

Unclaimed Property

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is “Unclaimed” or “Abandoned” property?
  2. How do Funds Become Unclaimed?
  3. Why is unclaimed property at the State?
  4. Is there a time limit for making a claim?
  5. Is there a fee for claiming unclaimed funds held by the State?
  6. How do I keep my money from becoming unclaimed?
  7. How do I find out if I have unclaimed property and file a claim?
  8. What documents will I need to verify that I am the rightful owner?
  9. What does the State do with escheated funds?
  10. What does the state do to find unclaimed property owners?
  11. What is demutualization?
  12. How and why did the demutualization happen?
  13. How did my demutualization proceeds end up on Connecticut's unclaimed property list?
  14. What happened to the insurance policy?
  15. How do I know if my insurance company has gone through demutualization?
  16. Are unused Gift Cards sent to the State as unclaimed property?

  1. What is “Unclaimed” or “Abandoned” property?

    Unclaimed property is usually money, and does not pertain to real estate of any kind, such as land or homes. Property is considered unclaimed if someone – other than the owner – holds the property and has not had any contact with the owner, usually for three to five years. Common sources of unclaimed property are:

    • Inactive savings and checks accounts;
    • Uncashed checks, such as payroll, refunds;
    • Forgotten telephone or utility deposits;
    • Inactive stocks and bonds;
    • Life insurance policy proceeds

    Funds are deemed unclaimed if there is no activity or contact with the rightful owner for a set period of time, generally 3 to 5 years. Before funds are transferred to the State, banks and/or companies must send a letter, by first class mail, to the owner at the last known address on their records. If the owner does not respond to the letter, the property is deemed unclaimed and sent to the State Treasurer for safekeeping until the rightful owner comes forward to claim the funds. Dormancy Periods by Category.

  2. How do Funds Become Unclaimed?

    Funds are deemed unclaimed if there is no activity or contact with the rightful owner for a set period of time, generally 3 to 5 years. Before funds are transferred to the State, banks and/or companies must send a letter, by first class mail, to the owner at the last known address on their records. If the owner does not respond to the letter, the property is deemed unclaimed and sent to the State Treasurer for safekeeping until the rightful owner comes forward to claim the funds. Dormancy Periods by Category

  3. Why is unclaimed property at the State?

    Unclaimed Property is sent to the state annually by various institutions such as banks, credit unions, insurance companies, utilities and businesses in accordance with Connecticut General Statutes section 3-65a. The Treasurer is the custodian of this property until the rightful owner comes forward to claim it. Unclaimed Property is sent to the State Treasurer to protect your funds, centralize your search efforts in locating property you lost contact with and to prevent a windfall to the company or institution that initially held your funds. The State does not assume ownership of the unclaimed property.

  4. Is there a time limit for making a claim?

    No, there is no time limit for claiming property that rightfully belongs to you. The State Treasurer as custodian of the money holds the funds until they are claimed by the rightful owner or their heirs.

  5. Is there a fee for claiming unclaimed funds held by the State?

    No, it is absolutely free! If at any time you can prove the unclaimed property is yours, the Treasurer will return it to you without charge. You do not need to hire someone to locate your unclaimed assets.

  6. How do I keep my money from becoming unclaimed?
    • Keep accurate financial records in a safe and secure location;
    • Keep a list of all bank accounts, stock certificates, broker accounts, insurance policies, utility and other deposits, and your safe deposit box number in a safe secure location;
    • Correspond with all financial institutions and other account holders at least once a year;
    • Cash all checks for dividends, wages and insurance settlements;
    • Answer your mail from the institutions that hold your money;
    • If you move, notify all parties of your new address;
    • If you stop receiving dividends, contact the company immediately;
    • Notify a family member or trusted advisor of the location of your records.
  7. How do I find out if I have unclaimed property and file a claim?

    There are two ways to claim your money:

    1. Visit www.CTBigList.com, to search for your property and download a claim form anytime – seven days a week, 24 hours a day.* Once you create a claim online, your name will no longer appear on the website - this prevents anyone else from claiming the same property;

         OR

    2. Call 1-800-833-7318, Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Eastern Time.

      Mail your completed claim form to:

      Office of the State Treasurer
      Unclaimed Property Division
      P.O. Box 5065
      Hartford, CT 06102
    * Only owners of the property or their legal heirs may file a claim.
  8. What documents will I need to verify that I am the rightful owner?

    Typically all claims require copies of the following: notarized signature on the claim form; photo identification (i.e., driver’s license); copy of social security number; proof of address and/or previous address; and documents that verify proof of ownership, such as passbook, tax return, original check, or utility bill. Additional information may be needed depending on the type of property being claimed.

  9. What does the State do with escheated funds?

    Unclaimed Property receipts are deposited in the Connecticut State General Fund, in accordance with state law. The State never assumes ownership of the unclaimed funds. The State Treasurer is the custodian of these funds until the rightful owners come forward to claim the funds. Owner information stays in the database in the owner's name until the rightful owner (or heir) claims the funds.

  10. What does the state do to find unclaimed property owners?

    Under Connecticut General Statutes, the State Treasurer’s Office is mandated to publish an electronic notice that new names of person appearing to own abandoned property are available.  This is an effective method of reaching Connecticut residents about unclaimed property.

    The Unclaimed Property Division provides a dedicated website, www.CTBigList.com, that gives Internet users access to the Treasury’s owners database of more than 1.4 million names.  If they locate their names in the owner database, owners can print a claim online.   

    There are two ways to claim property, visit www.CTBigList.com or call, toll free, 1-800-833-7318.

  11. What is demutualization?

    A demutualization is the conversion of a mutual insurance company that is owned by its policyholders, into a stock company, that is owned by shareholders. The insurance company continues to exist, but its corporate formation and ownership are altered. Eligible policyholders exchange their ownership rights in the mutual life insurance company for common shares of the new company and rights consistent with those of a typical publicly-owned company. Shares are also usually offered to other investors in an initial public offering (IPO). But your policy rights are not affected—you still retain your policy and its associated “contract” rights. Demutualization does not affect your policy benefits or affect your policy premiums.

  12. How and why did the demutualization happen?

    The management of the insurance company determined that the company’s policyholder interests would be best served by converting from a mutual to a stock company. They proposed a “Plan of Demutualization” that was approved by both a majority of policyholders and by insurance regulators in the insurance company’s home state.

  13. How did my demutualization proceeds end up on Connecticut’s unclaimed property list?

    If you were an owner of a policy bought from a company that changed from a mutual ownership to stock ownership, the process called demutualization, and you met certain eligibility criteria, you were automatically entitled to receive stock or cash distributed in the demutualization. If the company could not locate you, the demutualization proceeds would have been turned over to the custody of the state, as required by the unclaimed property law, until the rightful owner can be located.

  14. What happened to the insurance policy?

    The demutualization impacted only the policyholder’s “member” rights in the mutual company; it did not change any policy, or contract rights. The distribution of cash or securities from the demutualization does not reduce the cash value or coverage of the policy, nor would it result in cancellation. Neither will it increase any premiums. You will also still be eligible to receive any policy dividends as declared by the new company..

  15. How do I know if my insurance company has gone through demutualization? I have not heard from my insurance company, what should I do?

    The State Treasurer’s Office urges individuals owning policies in any insurance company to correspond with the company directly at least once each year.

  16. Are unused Gift Cards sent to the State as unclaimed property?

    A landmark 2003 Connecticut law, initiated and advocated by State Treasurer Denise L. Nappier and subsequently approved by the General Assembly, made Connecticut one of the first states to provide consumers with important protections in the use of gift cards and gift certificates. In the past, prior to the Connecticut law, consumers would lose money from the value of gift cards and gift certificates due to monthly fees and other charges, and expiration dates. Public Act 03-1 (sections 66-84 inclusive) became law on August 16, 2003.

    Gift cards and gift certificates purchased by shoppers in Connecticut cannot have an expiration date or incur inactivity fees. However, if gift cards are issued and administered by federally charted banks, Connecticut law does not apply. Federally chartered banks are regulated by the federal office of the Comptroller of the Currency (“OCC”). The OCC has stated that state laws like Connecticut’s Gift Card law do not apply to federally regulated banks. A federal court agreed and Connecticut no longer has the ability to enforce State of Connecticut unclaimed property laws against federally chartered bank issued cards.

    Later legislative modifications to the 2003 law, effective October 1, 2005, changed certain aspects of the law. Public Act 05-189 (link) eliminated the requirement for businesses to turn over (escheat) the unused value of a gift card to the State Treasurer's Office after a period of three years, if there was no owner contact. Prior to October 1, 2005, businesses were required to turn over any unused value remaining on a gift card, if the owner had not used the card for a three-year period. The unused value would be held in perpetuity by the State Treasurer until the rightful owners were located, consistent with Connecticut unclaimed property law which mandates the State Treasurer to serve as custodian of all unclaimed property due to Connecticut residents. PA 05-189 exempts gift cards from Connecticut’s unclaimed property law and, as a consequence, removes gift card consumers from the custodial protections of the State Treasurer's Office.

    Revised: September 2014 -  Top