Shenandoah Valley at sunset.

Frequently Asked Questions

 

What is unclaimed property (aka abandoned funds)?

These are funds and various financial assets that the rightful owner has lost track of, usually through no fault of their own.  Usually the owner (aka “the holder”) is unaware of these assets. Regardless of the cause, in every state businesses, banks, local governments, etc. are obliged to turn over to their State Treasurer monies that are reasonably considered abandoned. In turn, these Treasurers hold these monies and run programs to facilitate the assets’ return to the proper owners. In Virginia abandoned assets must be reported to the State Treasurer every year in November.

 

How do funds, or other property, become lost?

The presence of unclaimed property is a predictable element of life in a complex and ever changing economy. An organization with a $100 million budget might have tens of thousands of transactions every year. Even if they successfully track 99.99% of every movement of money in and out of their accounts $10,000 could still become lost ‘in the shuffle’ annually. For example, a check is never delivered due to an error in the mailing address. This is a very common occurrence. Or an accountant retires in the middle of a large, multi-faceted project and their successor does not know of all the outstanding debts, or refunds, owed to the organization. Every time new software is installed there is a chance some of the old data is not successfully transferred to the new system. Or during the transfer there is a subtle corruption of the data. It only takes one errant keystroke by either the payee, or the payer, for funds to go missing. When handling millions, or tens, or hundreds of millions of dollars it may not be reasonable, or cost-effective, to track down every missing check.

What are the different types of unclaimed property?

You might be surprised. Here is a partial list of the kinds of assets whose funds have been turned over to Virginia’s Treasury:

 

  accounts payable                   payroll                   

  certificates of deposit              rebates

  checking accounts                  refunds

  condemnation awards             stock sale proceeds

  court held accounts                 unidentified remittances

  credit balances                      utility deposits

  customer overpayments            vendor checks

  escrow accounts                     wages

  funds held in fiduciary capacity

Who has my unclaimed property now?

Here in the Commonwealth it is held by the Virginia Treasury’s Unclaimed Property Program.

 

What are the State laws regarding unclaimed property?

In the Code of Virginia unclaimed property and its recovery are governed by Title 55, Chapter 11.1 “Disposition of Unclaimed Property”.

 

May my organization search for the unclaimed funds unaided?

Yes.

 

Are there disadvantages to searching for funds ourselves?

That depends. What current work would have to be postponed, or set aside, to pursue a search? What is the best use of your time, or your staff’s time? How long will it take to learn how to make to full use of the State’s Unclaimed Property Program?

 

Also, recovering unclaimed property presents some peculiar challenges. It requires focused attention at the start, followed by a lull of five to six weeks. Then there is another round of careful follow-through. You may have staff available now, but will they still be available later? Will the second half of the process get pushed aside by other demands?

 

Why use RAF?

  ▫ We remove the hassle-factor.

  ▫ Your team can stay focused on your priorities.

  ▫ We are professional ‘finders’, aka ‘locators’. We manage the process and apply our specialized knowledge of Virginia’s Unclaimed Property Program to maximize the chances you recover all the funds you are owed.

  ▫ We are a small, Virginia-based firm focused exclusively on Virginia.

  ▫ We are dedicated solely to serving local governments in the Commonwealth and the nonprofit community. You have our undivided attention.


How does RAF cover its costs?

We operate on a commission basis and do not handle any funds on behalf of clients. Per State law the Treasury department will only send checks directly to the rightful owner of unclaimed property. Only after the client has received their funds do they then pay RAF a 10% commission.

How long does it take to recover funds?

There are many variables that affect the length of time from the initial submission of a claim to the State Treasurer to receiving the Treasurer’s check, but the total process it can take up to 15 weeks.