An Overview of Delaware Unclaimed Properties and Assets
Every year, millions of dollars of cash and property goes unclaimed in Delaware. According to the Delaware Division of Revenue, there are approximately 85,000 individuals and businesses who are owed money in the state. The majority of unclaimed property is located in New Castle County. Anybody who suspects that they might have money in DE can do an online search to find out.
Unclaimed property can be stock, refunds, wages, uncashed or undelivered payroll checks, dividends, payments for services, deposits, bonds, inheritances, etc. The Delaware State Treasury database is online and contains the names of everyone who has unclaimed property. They can run a search on their name and family’s names. Different variations of the names need to be searched. Many times, the reason that a check or refund goes undelivered is due to name misspellings.
An asset becomes unclaimed when its owner or heir fails to claim or show an interest in it over a period of time. The amount of time varies depending on the type of asset. The average for most properties is five years. Companies in charge of the property are known as “holders”. Holders must report the unclaimed properties after the dormancy period. The problem with Delaware is that many businesses haven’t been reporting like they are supposed to.
A Supreme Court decision in 1965 allows unclaimed property to be held anywhere. Even former DE residents who now live in other states can still claim their money in Delaware. Unclaimed assets held by federal agencies such as IRS refunds and SS benefits must be contacted separately. Money owed by the federal government isn’t always displayed in state search results.
To date, Delaware has taken in nearly $400 million in unclaimed money. Approximately 10% of the state is owed money. A large portion of this money belongs to corporate headquarters throughout the state. However, some of it belongs to regular citizens as well. Considering the state has less than a million in population, one would think that the amount of unclaimed money wouldn’t be so high. Delaware, unfortunately, has amended its unclaimed property laws so many times over the years that it’s hard to keep up with all the latest developments.
So, how can property be claimed? After conducting an online search and seeing that they are owed something, claimants must be an executor of the estate or an heir. They will be given a coupon to fill out. Along with the coupon, they must include a copy of their photo ID and documentation demonstrating their legal right to claim the property. The state of Delaware can take up to 16 weeks to process a claim.