Unclaimed money is money left untouched by its owner in organisations like banks, or with a person such as a solicitor. The length of time that passes before it becomes unclaimed money is generally 5 years. In certain cases it can be less than 5 years.
After the organisation, or person has been unsuccessful in trying to find the owner, most unclaimed money is transferred to us, the Public Trust or Treasury.
We administer unclaimed money that comes under the Unclaimed Money Act 1971. Some examples are:
- deposits in banks and financial institutions
- money in solicitors' trust accounts
- unpaid wages and employee benefits (including unpaid holiday pay)
- proceeds of life insurance policies.
Some types of money are not considered unclaimed under the Act and are managed by Treasury. These include:
- any unclaimed money covered by the Public Finance Act 1989
- bona vacantia or ownerless money
- other types of property such as cryptocurrencies
Treasury has examples showing which types of unclaimed money are held by other agencies.