Unclaimed Property Rules and Time Limits for Michigan

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 Michigan.

In Michigan, all things relating to unclaimed property are handled by the Unclaimed Property Division of the Michigan Department of Treasury.

  • 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).

Michigan 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 Michigan property is generally presumed abandoned if it has remained unclaimed by the owner for more than five years after it became 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.

Reporting Unclaimed Property in Michigan

In Michigan, a holder of abandoned property with a value of $50.00 or more (except traveler's checks and money orders, to which the qualifying amount does not apply) must file a verified annual report containing information concerning the property required by the State Treasurer. The report is due on or before November 1, as of June 30.

The Treasurer has discretion to authorize an extension of the filing date based on a written request filed before the expiration of the due date.

Prior notice to owner. Not less than 60 days or more than 365 days before filing the annual report, the holder of property presumed abandoned must send written notice to the apparent owner at his or her last known address advising him or her of the fact that he holds such property.

Delivery. The abandoned property must be paid or delivered to the Treasurer simultaneously with the filing of the report. Where property consists of stock, a duplicate certificate or other evidence of ownership may be delivered if the holder does not issue certificates of ownership.

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

Penalties. The late payment or delivery of property is subject to an interest penalty (adjusted prime rate plus one percent) from the date the property should have been paid or delivered to the date of its actual payment or delivery. The penalty for willfully failing to render a report or to perform other required duties is a fine of not more than $100 per day of violation, to a maximum of $5,000.

Willfully failing to pay or deliver property to the Treasurer is subject to a civil penalty of 25 percent of the value of the property that should have been paid or delivered. In addition, a person who willfully refuses after written demand by the Treasurer to pay or deliver property is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine, imprisonment, or both.

Claiming Unclaimed Property in Michigan

In Michigan, property is generally presumed abandoned if it has remained unclaimed by the owner for more than five years after it became 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.

Locating abandoned property held by the state. The Department of Treasury is required to publish twice yearly in a newspaper of statewide circulation, the Department's website address and the number of unclaimed properties added to the website.

Unclaimed property held by the state may also be found by searching the state's website (http://www.michigan.gov/treasury/0,1607,7-121-44435-7924--,00.html).

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 claiming an interest in any property paid or delivered as abandoned property under the Uniform Disposition Act may file a claim with the Treasurer, who must consider such claim within 90 days after it is filed. If the claimant is another state, the claim must satisfy certain requirements that establish a reasonable basis for the state's claim.

A claim is initiated by searching the state's website (http://www.michigan.gov/treasury/0,1607,7-121-44435-7924--,00.html). If a search turns up a claimant's name, follow the link to complete an initial inquiry form.

A person dissatisfied with a decision of the Treasurer or whose claim was not acted upon within 90 days after the filing date may, within 90 days after the decision of the Treasurer or 180 days after filing the claim not acted upon, commence an action in the circuit court to establish the claim against the Treasurer.

Michigan 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 Michigan, contact the following:

Unclaimed Property Division
Michigan Department of Treasury
P.O. Box 30756
Lansing, MI 48922
Phone: (517) 636-5320
Fax: (517) 322-5986
Website: http://www.michigan.gov/treasury/0,1607,7-121-44435---,00.html

Michigan Abandoned Property Time Limits

Property Type Presumed Abandoned After
Bank account Demand, savings, and time deposit accounts: five years
Trust deposits without terms of trust: up to 15 years
an account under the Michigan Uniform Gifts to Minors Act: 15 years
Checks or drafts five years
Demutualization proceeds two years
Gift certificates, gift cards, and credit memos gift certificates 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 five years
funds held under a prepaid funeral contract: five or 15 years, depending on the statute governing the contract
Proceeds from class action suits no specific provision
Property distributable by a business association in the course of dissolution one year
Includes refunds
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
automatic dividend reinvestment plans: 15 years
Traveler's checks 15 years
Deposits and advances owed utility company customer one year
Wages or salaries one year

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