A Network of the National Association of State Treasurers
A Network of the National Association of State Treasurers

About the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators

Timeline Test

1950s: The 1950s marked the beginning of organized efforts to address unclaimed property in the United States. Various states started implementing unclaimed property laws, requiring businesses to report and turn over unclaimed assets to the state. These assets included forgotten bank accounts, uncashed checks, and abandoned safe deposit boxes. This decade laid the foundation for a more systematic approach to reuniting owners with their lost or forgotten assets while simultaneously providing states with a new source of revenue.

1960s: In the 1960s, the concept of unclaimed property gained more prominence as more states adopted legislation to address this issue. States began establishing unclaimed property divisions or offices to centralize the handling of unclaimed assets and to develop systems for tracking and returning them to their rightful owners. The 1960s saw the emergence of organized efforts to publicize unclaimed property programs, educating citizens about the importance of checking for lost assets and making the process more accessible.

1970s: The 1970s witnessed further expansion of unclaimed property laws across the United States. State governments refined their legislation and improved record-keeping systems to enhance the identification and return of unclaimed assets. At the federal level, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a landmark decision in the case of Pennsylvania v. New York, affirming the states’ authority to claim and manage unclaimed property within their borders. This decision provided a legal framework for state unclaimed property programs.

1980s: During the 1980s, unclaimed property laws continued to evolve, with many states updating their regulations and enforcement mechanisms. The era also saw the adoption of technology for better asset tracking and owner identification. The use of computer databases and electronic records allowed states to efficiently match unclaimed property with its rightful owners. The public awareness campaigns grew stronger, encouraging individuals and businesses to check regularly for unclaimed assets.

1990s: The 1990s marked a period of increased scrutiny and enforcement of unclaimed property laws. States began conducting audits of businesses to ensure compliance with reporting requirements, uncovering significant amounts of unclaimed assets. This decade also saw the rise of private companies specializing in unclaimed property recovery services. Meanwhile, the internet revolutionized the process of searching for and claiming unclaimed property, making it more convenient for owners to identify and retrieve their assets.

2000s and Beyond: In the 21st century, unclaimed property programs continued to evolve with advancements in technology and an emphasis on transparency. States launched user-friendly online databases, allowing individuals to search for unclaimed property easily. There was also an increased focus on reuniting owners with their assets promptly. Additionally, states began adopting uniform laws and regulations through the Uniform Law Commission to standardize unclaimed property practices across jurisdictions. This period also brought about legal challenges and discussions around the appropriate handling of unclaimed cryptocurrency and digital assets. Unclaimed property programs remain a vital component of state finances while providing a valuable service to citizens seeking to recover lost assets.

NAUPA Milestones: NAUPA file format history, MissingMoney launch / milestones, unclaimed.org launch / milestones,  etc… 

Life Insurance Decision

New Property Types – Securities, Virtual Currency, Safe Deposit Boxes

Important Legal Cases

1944
Anderson National Bank v. Luckett (1944)
This case addressed the issue of conflicting state laws regarding unclaimed property and helped establish uniformity in escheatment.
1944
1954
Uniform Disposition of Unclaimed Property Act (1954)
The Uniform Law Commission creates the first model legislation to standardize and clarify unclaimed property laws across states.
1954
1964

Pennsylvania v. New York (1964)

This Supreme Court case helped clarify the rules for determining which state has the right to escheat abandoned property when the holder is incorporated in one state but has the owner's last known address in another state.
1964
1965

Texas v. New Jersey (1965)

This U.S. Supreme Court case established the priority rules for escheatment, defining which state has the right to claim abandoned property when the owner's last known address is unclear.
1965
1981
Revised Uniform Unclaimed Property Act (1981)
The Uniform Law Commission updates the model legislation to include uncashed checks and to clarify what constitutes due diligence by holders.
1981
2016
Uniform Law Commission's Model Unclaimed Property Act (2016)
A new iteration of the model legislation reflects the challenges of the digital age: this act covers everything from dormant e-wallet balances to unclaimed rewards points.
2016
2016 - Today
Continued Innovation
In the 21st century, unclaimed property programs continued to evolve with advancements in technology and an emphasis on transparency. States launched user-friendly online databases, allowing individuals to search for unclaimed property easily.
2016 - Today

1950-1970s - Establishment

Roots of Unclaimed Property

Though the roots go back to Feudal, the principle is so simple every child knows it. If it’s doesn’t belong to you, you don’t get to keep it.

The first unclaimed property act is passed.

The first unclaimed property act is passed.

The first unclaimed property act is passed.

It is a general principal in the American law…that when the title to land fails from defect of the heirs and devisees, it necessarily reverts or escheats to the people, as forming part of the common stock to which the whole community is entitled…and the lands vest immediately in the state by operations of law.

1970s-1990 - Uniform Acts

Roots of Unclaimed Property

Though the roots go back to feudal times, the principle is so simple we teach it to every child. If something doesn’t belong to you, you don’t get to keep it. The state now attempts 

NAUPA Standard File Format is Introduced

The first unclaimed property act is passed.

The first unclaimed property act is passed.

The true owner of abandoned property should always be given a fair chance to reclaim it

1990s-2010 - Technology Revolution

Roots of Unclaimed Property

Though the roots go back to Feudal, the principle is so simple every child knows it. If it’s doesn’t belong to you, you don’t get to keep it.

missingmoney.com launches

The first unclaimed property act is passed.

The first unclaimed property act is passed.

It is a general principal in the American law…that when the title to land fails from defect of the heirs and devisees, it necessarily reverts or escheats to the people, as forming part of the common stock to which the whole community is entitled…and the lands vest immediately in the state by operations of law.

2010s-Present - Continued Innovation

Returning More Money Than Ever

In the 21st century, unclaimed property programs continued to evolve with advancements in technology and an emphasis on transparency. States launched user-friendly online databases, allowing individuals to search for unclaimed property easily. There was also an increased focus on reuniting owners with their assets promptly. Additionally, states began adopting uniform laws and regulations through the Uniform Law Commission to standardize unclaimed property practices across jurisdictions. This period also brought about legal challenges and discussions around the appropriate handling of unclaimed cryptocurrency and digital assets. Unclaimed property programs remain a vital component of state finances while providing a valuable service to citizens seeking to recover lost assets

NAUPA Standard File Format is Introduced

The first unclaimed property act is passed.

The first unclaimed property act is passed.

inspiring Quote

Roots of Unclaimed Property

In the 21st century, unclaimed property programs continued to evolve with advancements in technology and an emphasis on transparency. States launched user-friendly online databases, allowing individuals to search for unclaimed property easily. There was also an increased focus on reuniting owners with their assets promptly. Additionally, states began adopting uniform laws and regulations through the Uniform Law Commission to standardize unclaimed property practices across jurisdictions. This period also brought about legal challenges and discussions around the appropriate handling of unclaimed cryptocurrency and digital assets. Unclaimed property programs remain a vital component of state finances while providing a valuable service to citizens seeking to recover lost assets

The first unclaimed property act is passed.

The first unclaimed property act is passed.

States return over $4 billion to owners in FY22

It is a general principal in the American law…that when the title to land fails from defect of the heirs and devisees, it necessarily reverts or escheats to the people, as forming part of the common stock to which the whole community is entitled…and the lands vest immediately in the state by operations of law.