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Avoid Escheatment

States can take your bank or stock account!

It's true, escheatment, as it's called, is the process of reverting ownership of property to the custody of the state. It's an old concept intended to make sure unclaimed, abandoned, or uninherited property passes to the custody of the state rather than staying in limbo or being pocketed by the financial institution.

The problem is that, nowadays, financially strapped states are getting much more aggressive (too aggressive in our opinion) in pursuing these accounts.

Recently, many states have begun to require institutions like transfer agents and brokerages, to report property as abandoned based on “inactivity” in addition to, or instead of, being considered lost based on returned mail. States generally define activity as the shareholder initiating some kind of direct contact.

Escheat Guide

  1. Make sure your transfer agent has your current address!
  2. Set up on-line access to your account at your transfer agent website.
  3. Keep your account "active", do one of these every two years:
    • Deposit dividend checks timely (even if small).
    • Vote your proxy (mail or web).
    • Call, email, or mail your transfer agent referencing your account.

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