Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is unclaimed property?
    Generally, any financial asset, usually money, that has not been claimed by its owner or has not had any owner-generated activity for a period of time, usually five years. This includes:
  2. How does property become unclaimed?
    State law says that property becomes "unclaimed" when the owner does not respond to attempts by the holder of the property (for example, the bank, insurance company, brokerage firm or utility company) to contact the owner of the account after the account has been inactive for a period of time, usually five years. If the owner does not respond or cannot be contacted, the property is then sent to the State to hold on behalf of the rightful owner until the owner can be found. As long as you can show proof that the property belongs to you, you can always claim your property.
     
  3. How far back do the records go?
    South Carolinaís Unclaimed Property law went into effect in 1971. However, there are some accounts that date as far back as the 1940ís.
     
  4. How long do I have to claim the money?
    There is no time limit. The rightful owner always has the right to claim the funds.
     
  5. What if the original owner is deceased?
    The Personal Representative for the estate can make a claim on the property by providing a copy of the death certificate, a currently dated Certificate of Appointment from the Probate Court, as well as proof of ownership of the property.
     
  6. Is there any charge or fee for this program?
    No. There is no fee for this service whether or not property is found under your name. If you are contacted by an individual or firm offering to return property to you for a fee, contact the Unclaimed Property Program Offices BEFORE YOU SIGN AN AGREEMENT. You can call us at 803.737.4771.
     
  7. What type of proof is needed to verify a claim?
    There are two types of proof that need to be satisfied for every claim before it is paid. The first is the proof that the person making the claim is actually that person. The second is proof that ties that person to the funds being claimed. The claim form, which must be completed and submitted to the Unclaimed Property Office, clearly outlines the exact types of identification that must be provided.
     
  8. How do I find out whether there is unclaimed property in my name?
    1. To search the Unclaimed Property Program database now for your name, click Unclaimed Property Search to activate a search.
    2. Call the Unclaimed Property Program at (803) 737-4771 between 8:30 am and 5:00 pm Monday through Friday.
    3. Write us at:
      • Unclaimed Property Program
      • State Treasurerís Office
      • Post Office Box 11778
      • Columbia, SC 29211
    4. or email us at: payback@sto.sc.gov

    Be sure to include your full name, any previous names, current and previous address(es) in South Carolina, and work and home telephone numbers.

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  10. What if I have lived in another state and left money there?
    Property is reported to the last known residence, so if you 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.orgEXTERNAL link to unlcaimed.org and also as www.missingmoney.comETERNAL link to missingmoney.com (State's Sponsored National Database).

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