S.C. State Treasurer Curtis Loftis says there are over $3 million in unclaimed property in Colleton County alone and other $650 million in S.C.
In South Carolina, virtually any intangible property not in the possession of its owner can be considered unclaimed property. Examples of unclaimed property include dormant bank accounts, uncashed checks (including paychecks), unclaimed insurance proceeds, forgotten utility deposits, uncashed dividend checks and unexchanged shares of stock. It does not include real estate or vehicles.
Unclaimed property laws began in the United States as a consumer protection program and they have evolved to protect not only the owners, but their heirs and estates as well. Once property is in the custody of the state and its unclaimed property program, an aggressive outreach effort begins through mailings, social media, promotions and local media coverage. The state will maintain custody of the property in perpetuity until the rightful owner or heirs come forward to claim.
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, usually five years for most properties, and the holder is unable to locate the property owner, it is considered abandoned and must be reported to the South Carolina Unclaimed Property Program. To prevent your accounts from becoming unclaimed or abandoned, keep accounts active and make sure that you make a deposit or withdrawal, update your contact information, or contact your financial institution at least every five years.
Why does the state have such a law?
The South Carolina Unclaimed Property law provides consumer protection by serving as custodian of unclaimed property and by giving owners the means to perform a centralized search.
How does the state get the property?
If there has been no activity in the account for a set period of time, usually five years, the funds are remitted to the South Carolina Unclaimed Property Program in the owner’s name and held until the funds are claimed. Before the unclaimed funds are remitted to the Program, the company holding the funds is required to notify the owners at the address on the company’s records. Despite these efforts, many funds remain unclaimed and are transferred to The South Carolina Unclaimed Property Program, which acts as custodian.
How far back to records go?
South Carolina's Unclaimed Property law went into effect in 1971. However, there are some accounts with a last date of owner-initiated activity from the 1940s.
I haven't always lived in South Carolina. How do I check to see if I have unclaimed property in another state?
Property is reported to the state of the owner's last known address. If you have lived outside of South Carolina, you should check all states in which you have lived. You can check other states for free by going to www.unclaimed.org (National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators) to check individual states.
To find if you are entitled to claim unclaimed property, visit https://southcarolina.findyourunclaimedproperty.com.