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Unclaimed Property Rules and Time Limits for Hawaii

Filed under Basic Accounting. Fact checked on May 24, 2012.

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Learn the unclaimed property rules and their time limits for the state of Hawaii.

In Hawaii, all things relating to unclaimed property are handled by the Unclaimed Property Program of the Department of Budget and Finance.

  • As a business owner, this will be the agency to contact if you possess unclaimed property (unpaid wages, for example). Remember that you are subject to both reporting requirements and the obligation to turn over abandoned property to the state.
  • It is also the point of contact if you believe that you may have knowingly, or unknowingly, abandoned property (for example, failing to get back a security deposit, didn't receive a tax refund).

Hawaii businesses have a number of responsibilities concerning unclaimed property. Initially, written notice must be sent to the apparent owner of the unclaimed property, if known. If the property remains unclaimed, businesses have a number of filing and reporting requirements to fulfill. Most importantly, businesses are required to turn over any and all unclaimed property to the state. Stiff penalties apply to businesses who fail to comply with any of these requirements.

Individuals should know that Hawaii property is generally presumed abandoned if it remains unclaimed by the owner for more than five years after it becomes payable or distributable. However, this time limit varies depending on the type of property involved. Once abandoned property is turned over to the state by a business, an individual then has the burden of reclaiming it from the state, which holds it in a custodial capacity until the rightful owner or heir can be found.

Reporting Unclaimed Property in Hawaii

A holder of abandoned property must file a verified annual report to the Director of Finance containing prescribed information concerning the property. The report is due on or before November 1, as of June 30. The filing date may be postponed upon written request.

Holders can download free reporting software and contact the Unclaimed Property Program by phone for further reporting requirements.

Prior notice to owner. Not more than six months before filing the report, the holder of abandoned property must send written notice to the apparent owner at his last known address.

If an insurance company learns of the death of the insured or annuitant and the beneficiary has not communicated with the insurer within four months after the death, the company must take reasonable steps to pay the proceeds to the beneficiary.

Delivery. The holder of abandoned property pays or delivers the property to the Director of Finance within six months after the final date for filing the annual report. Property for which the holder is not required to report the name of the apparent owner must be delivered at the time of filing the report.

The Director may decline to receive property of insubstantial value.

Recordkeeping. A business must generally maintain related records five years after the unclaimed property is reported. However, the period is three years for traveler's checks, money orders, and similar financial instruments.

Penalties. a person who willfully fails to render any report or perform other required duties is liable for a civil penalty of $100 for each day of violation, up to a maximum of $5,000. The penalty for willfully failing to pay or deliver property on time is a fine equal to 25 percent of the value of the property. A person who willfully refuses to pay or deliver property to the Director of Finance after written demand is guilty of a misdemeanor.

A person who fails to pay or deliver property on time is also liable for interest (at an indexed rate) from the date the property should have been delivered.

Claiming Unclaimed Property in Hawaii

In Hawaii, property is generally presumed abandoned if it remains unclaimed by the owner for more than five years after it becomes payable or distributable. However, this time limit varies depending on the type of property involved. Once abandoned property is turned over to the state by a business, an individual then has the burden of reclaiming it from the state, which holds it in a custodial capacity until the rightful owner or heir can be found.

Locating abandoned property held by the state. In Hawaii, unclaimed property held by the state may be found by searching the state's website.

To find out if other states may be holding your unclaimed property, search the national database established by the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA).

Filing a claim. A person, excluding another state, claiming an interest in any property paid or delivered as abandoned property may file a claim with the Director of Finance, who must consider and decide on such claim within 120 days after it is filed. The procedure is essentially the same where the claimant is another state, except that the claim will be allowed only in those circumstances where the other state has some basis for claiming a custodial relationship with the property as enumerated in the statute.

To file a claim, use the online form provided after an unclaimed property search reveals property is being held for you by the state. You can also e-mail the following information to the Unclaimed Property program:

  • the name, address and/or Social Security Number you searched for;
  • the owner's current name, current mailing address, current daytime telephone number, e-mail address (if any); and
  • an explanation of why the owner is entitled to the property.

After receiving the above information, someone from the Unclaimed Property Program will contact you to help determine the documents needed to provide for proof of property ownership.

A person dissatisfied with a decision of the Director of Finance or whose claim was not acted upon within 120 days after the filing date may bring an action to establish the claim in the circuit court within 90 days after the Director's decision or, if he or she failed to act, within 180 days after the filing of the claim.

Hawaii Unclaimed Property Resources

If you're looking for additional information on unclaimed property, we recommend contacting your state's governmental agency that oversees the administration of this area of the law. For help in answering a specific unclaimed property question in Hawaii, contact the following:

State of Hawaii
Department of Budget and Finance
Unclaimed Property Program
P.O. Box 150
Honolulu, HI 96810
Phone: (808) 586-1589
Fax: (808) 586-1644
E-mail: unclaimedproperty@hawaii.gov
Website: http://www.unclaimedproperty.hawaii.gov/

Hawaii Abandoned Property Time Limits

Property Type Presumed Abandoned After
Bank account five years
Checks or drafts five years
Demutualization proceeds no specific provision
Gift certificates, gift cards, and credit memos five years
Insurance policies life or annuity policies: five years.
The presumed maturity of an insurance policy is two years.
IRAs or retirement funds no specific provision
Money orders seven years
Other intangible personal property not otherwise specified personal property originated or issued by an entity in the state: three years.
Otherwise, five years.
Proceeds from class action suits no specific provision
Property distributable by a business association in the course of dissolution the date specified for final distribution
Money that a business association has been ordered by the court or administrative agency to refund is presumed abandoned if it remains unclaimed by the owner for more than one year after it became payable in accordance with the final determination or order providing for the refund (regardless of whether the final determination or order requires the owner to make a claim for it).
Property held by courts or public agencies one year
Property held by fiduciaries five years
Safe deposit boxes five years
Shares in a financial institution five years
Stocks, dividends, and distributions seven years
Traveler's checks 15 years
Deposits and advances owed utility company customer one year
Wages or salaries one year

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