Unclaimed Property/Escheatment

Through a process known as “escheat,” Emory University is required by law to report and remit property that is considered abandoned pursuant to the unclaimed property laws and regulations of the state of the owner's last known address.

Accounts Payable and Controllership are responsible for managing this process.

What is Unclaimed Property?

Unclaimed property, also commonly referred to as abandoned property, is defined as tangible or intangible property held by an organization that has not had contact with the rightful owner for a specific period.

Basically, any property that has remained unclaimed by the owner for more than one year for payroll checks or five years for other checks is presumed abandoned. After a property becomes “abandoned”, it must be reported and remitted to the state of Georgia Commissioner of Revenue.

What are types of Unclaimed Property?

There are many different types of unclaimed property that include:

  • Checks
    • Payroll
    • Supplier Payments
    • Travel and expense reimbursement
    • Patient refunds
    • Student stipends
    • Pension
  • Credit Balances
    • Student accounts
  • Royalty Payments
  • Insurance Claim Payments

How does Property become “Unclaimed?”

There are several reasons why property could become unclaimed. In some cases, the owner simply forgot about the property (i.e., didn't cash the check), passed away, or left it behind. Unclaimed property can result from an employee termination or an owner changing their address without notification.

Unclaimed Property Process

Emory is committed to reuniting rightful owners with their unclaimed property and has successfully reunited many owners with their unclaimed property.

There are three main steps:

First, identify any unclaimed property items. Accounts Payable consistently reviews the outstanding payable checks that have the potential to become unclaimed property. When the owner is found, the stale-dated check is void and a new one is sent in its place.

Pursuant to jurisdictional regulations, the Controller's office, working with a third-party vendor, mails letters to property owners informing them of property in their name held by the University. These letters are mailed between 60-120 days before the unclaimed property report is filed with the Commissioner of Revenue. The owners should respond to Emory regarding payment and provide any updated address information and/or banking details.

Consequences of Non-Compliance

Failure to comply with the unclaimed property rules may result in delinquent filings and/or inaccurate compliance reporting of unclaimed property which could result in state assessed penalty and interest.

Property that remains unclaimed is escheated to the state of the owner's last known address in accordance with the laws of that jurisdiction. The rightful owner retains their rights to the property in perpetuity and may contact the appropriate jurisdictional agency to file a claim for escheated property at any time.