Georgia Disposition of Unclaimed Property Law


Georgia Law Summary
Uniform Disposition of Unclaimed Property Act

Note:  This summary is not intended to be an all inclusive discussion of abandoned property law, but does include basic provisions.  You should check the State Laws for updates.

Title 44 Property
Article 12 Disposition of Unclaimed Property Act

This article shall be known and may be cited as the “Disposition of Unclaimed Property Act.” Title 44, Art. 12,  §44-12-190.

This article shall be so construed as to effectuate its general purpose to make uniform the law of those states which enact it. Title 44, Art. 12,  §44-12-191.

As used in this article, the term:

(1) “Apparent owner” means the person whose name appears on the records of the holder as the person entitled to property held, issued, or owing by the holder.

(2) “Banking organization” means a bank, trust company, savings bank, industrial bank, land bank, safe-deposit company, private banker, or any other organization defined by federal law or the law of another state as a bank or banking organization.

(3) “Business association” means any corporation, other than a public corporation, a joint-stock company, an investment company, a business trust, or a partnership or association for business purposes of two or more individuals whether or not for profit, including a banking organization, financial organization, insurance company, or utility.

(4) “Commissioner” means the commissioner of revenue.

(5) “Domicile” means the state of incorporation, in the case of a corporation incorporated under the laws of a state, and the state of the principal place of business, in the case of a person not incorporated under the laws of a state.

(6) “Due diligence” means, but shall not be limited to, the mailing of a letter by first-class mail to the last known address of the owner as indicated on the records of the holder.

(7) “Financial organization” means any savings and loan association, cooperative bank, building and loan association, or credit union.

(8) “Holder” means a person, wherever organized or domiciled, who is:

(A) In possession of property belonging to another;

(B) A trustee in case of a trust; or

(C) Indebted to another on an obligation.

(9) “Insurance company” means an association, corporation, or fraternal or mutual benefit organization, whether or not for profit, which is engaged in providing insurance coverage of any type.

(10) “Intangible property” means and includes:

(A) Moneys, checks, drafts, deposits, interest, dividends, and income;

(B) Credit balances, customer overpayments, gift certificates, security deposits, refunds, credit memos, unpaid wages, and unidentified remittances;

(C) Stocks and other intangible ownership interests in business associations;

(D) Moneys deposited to redeem stocks, bonds, coupons, and other securities or to make distributions;

(E) Amounts due and payable under the terms of insurance policies; and

(F) Amounts distributable from a trust or custodial fund established under a plan to provide health, welfare, pension, vacation, severance, retirement, death, stock purchase, profit sharing, employee savings, supplemental unemployment insurance, or similar benefits.

(11) “Last known address” means a description of the location of the apparent owner sufficient for the purpose of the delivery of mail.

(12) “Owner” means a depositor in the case of a deposit, a beneficiary in the case of a trust other than a deposit in trust, a creditor, claimant, or payee in the case of other intangible property, or a person having a legal or equitable interest in property subject to this article or his legal representative.

(13) “Payable” means the earliest date upon which the owner of property could become entitled to the payments, possession, delivery, or distribution of such property from a holder.

(14) “Person” means an individual, business association, government, governmental subdivision or agency, public corporation, public authority, estate, trust, two or more persons having a joint or common interest, or any other legal or commercial entity.

(15) “State” means any state, district, commonwealth, territory, insular possession, or any other area subject to the authority of the United States.

(16) “Utility” means a person who owns or operates for public use any plant, equipment, property, franchise, or license for the transmission of communications or the production, storage, transmission, sale, delivery, or furnishing of electricity, water, steam, or gas. Title 44, Art. 12, §44-12-192.

All tangible and intangible property, including any income or increment thereon, less any lawful charges, that is held, issued, or owing in the ordinary course of the holder’s business and has remained unclaimed by the owner for more than five years after it became payable or distributable is presumed abandoned, except as otherwise provided by this article. Property is payable or distributable for the purpose of this article notwithstanding the owner’s failure to make demand or to present any instrument or document required to receive payment. Title 44, Art. 12, §44-12-193.

Unless otherwise provided in this article or by any other provision of law, intangible property is subject to the custody of this state as unclaimed property if the conditions leading to a presumption of abandonment as described in Code Section 44-12-193 are satisfied and:

(1) The last known address, as shown on the records of the holder, of the apparent owner is in this state;

(2) The records of the holder do not reflect the identity of the person entitled to the property and it is established that the last known address of the person entitled to the property is in this state;

(3) The records of the holder do not reflect the last known address of the apparent owner, and it is established that:

(A) The last known address of the person entitled to the property is in this state; or

(B) The holder is a domiciliary or a government or governmental subdivision or agency of this state and has not previously paid the property to the state of the last known address of the apparent owner or other person entitled to the property;

(4) The last known address, as shown on the records of the holder, of the apparent owner or other person entitled to the property is in a state that does not provide by law for the escheat or custodial taking of the property or its escheat or unclaimed property law is not applicable to the property and the holder is a domiciliary or a government or governmental subdivision or agency of this state;

(5) The last known address, as shown on the records of the holder, of the apparent owner is in a foreign nation and the holder is a domiciliary or a government or governmental subdivision or agency of this state; or

(6) The transaction out of which the property arose occurred in this state and:

(A) The last known address of the apparent owner or other person entitled to the property is unknown; or

(B) The last known address of the apparent owner or other person entitled to the property is in a state that does not provide by law for the escheat or custodial taking of the property or its escheat or unclaimed property law is not applicable to the property; and

(C) The holder is a domiciliary of a state that does not provide by law for the escheat or custodial taking of the property or its escheat or unclaimed property law is not applicable to the property. Title 44, Art. 12, §44-12-194.

(a) Except as otherwise provided in this Code section, any sum payable on a traveler’s check that has been outstanding for more than 15 years after its issuance is presumed abandoned unless the owner, within 15 years, has communicated in writing with the issuer concerning it or otherwise indicated an interest as evidenced by a memorandum or other record on file prepared by an employee of the issuer.

(b) Except as otherwise provided in this Code section, any sum payable on a money order or similar written instrument, other than a third-party bank check, that has been outstanding for more than seven years after its issuance is presumed abandoned unless the owner, within seven years, has communicated in writing with the issuer concerning it or otherwise indicated an interest as evidenced by a memorandum or other record on file prepared by an employee of the issuer.

(c) Any sum payable on a traveler’s check, money order, or similar written instrument, other than a third-party bank check, described in this Code section may not be subjected to the custody of this state as unclaimed property unless:

(1) The records of the issuer show that the traveler’s check, money order, or similar written instrument was purchased in this state;

(2) The issuer has its principal place of business in this state and the records of the issuer do not show the state in which the traveler’s check, money order, or similar written instrument was purchased; or

(3) The issuer has its principal place of business in this state, the records of the issuer show the state in which the traveler’s check, money order, or similar written instrument was purchased, and the laws of the state of purchase do not provide for the escheat or custodial taking of the property or its escheat or unclaimed property law is not applicable to the property.

(d) Notwithstanding any other provision of this article, the provisions of subsection (c) of this Code section relating to the requirements for subjecting certain written instruments to the custody of the state shall apply to sums payable on traveler’s checks, money orders, and similar written instruments presumed abandoned on or after February 1, 1965, except to the extent that those sums have been paid over to a state prior to January 1, 1973. Title 44, Art. 12, §44-12-195.

Any sum payable on a check, draft, or similar instrument, except money orders, traveler’s checks, and other similar instruments subject to Code Section 44-12-195, on which a banking or financial organization is directly liable, including but not limited to, cashier’s checks and certified checks, which has been outstanding for more than five years after it was payable or after its issuance payable on demand, is presumed abandoned unless the owner, within five years, has communicated in writing with the banking or financial organization concerning it or otherwise indicated an interest as evidenced by a memorandum or other record on file prepared by an employee of the banking or financial organization. Except for charges imposed with respect to issuance, no banking or financial organization shall deduct a service charge from, or otherwise impose a service charge on, any instrument described in this Code section unless such instrument is not presented for payment within two years of the date of issuance. Service charges may be imposed for each month of the 12 months following such two-year period. Title 44, Art. 12, §44-12-196.

(a) Any demand, savings, or matured time deposit with a banking or financial organization, including deposits that are automatically renewable, and any funds paid toward the purchase of a share, a mutual investment certificate, or any other interest in a banking or financial organization is presumed abandoned unless the owner, within five years, has:

(1) In the case of a deposit, increased or decreased its amount or presented the passbook or other similar evidence of the deposit for the crediting of interest or negotiated a check in payment of interest on a time deposit;

(2) Communicated in writing with the banking or financial organization concerning the property;

(3) Otherwise indicated an interest in the property as evidenced by a memorandum or other record on file prepared by an employee of the banking or financial organization; for purposes of this paragraph, a record of the sending of a federal Internal Revenue Service Form 1099, or its equivalent, to the persons enumerated in this subsection and a record of its not being returned by the United States Postal Service or its successor shall be an indication of interest;

(4) Owned other property to which paragraph (1), (2), or (3) of this subsection is applicable if the banking or financial organization communicated in writing with the owner with regard to the property that would otherwise be presumed abandoned under this paragraph at the address to which communications regarding the other property regularly are sent;

(5) Had another relationship with the banking or financial organization concerning which the owner has communicated in writing with the banking or financial organization or has otherwise indicated an interest as evidenced by a memorandum or other record on file prepared by an employee of the banking or financial organization if the banking or financial organization communicates in writing with the owner with regard to property that would otherwise be abandoned under this paragraph at the address to which communications regarding the other relationship regularly are sent; or

(6) A deposit made with a banking or financial organization by a court or by a guardian pursuant to order of a court or by any other person for the benefit of a person who was a minor at the time of the making of such deposit, which deposit is subject to withdrawal only upon the further order of such court or such guardian or other person, shall not be subject to the provisions of this article until one year after such minor attains the age of 18 years or until one year after the death of such minor, whichever occurs sooner. These accounts are not subject to dormant service charges.

(b) For purposes of this Code section, “property” includes any interest or dividends thereon. No banking or financial organization shall deduct a service charge from any account on which there has been no deposit or withdrawal for 12 or more months or otherwise impose a service charge on any such account. A service charge may be imposed for 12 months immediately following a deposit to or withdrawal from any such account.

(c) No banking or financial organization may cease to accrue interest on any account from the date the account is declared dormant or inactive by such organization except in conformity with cessation of interest generally assessed upon active accounts. With respect to any property described in this subsection, a holder may not impose any charges due to dormancy or inactivity which differ from those imposed on active accounts or cease to pay interest unless:

(1) For property in excess of $50.00, the holder, no more than three months before the initial imposition of those charges or cessation of interest, has given written notice to the owner of the amount of those charges at the last known address of the owner stating that those charges will be imposed or that interest will cease, but the notice provided in this paragraph need not be given with respect to charges imposed or interest ceased before July 1, 1990; and

(2) The holder regularly imposes such charges or ceases payment of interest and does not regularly reverse or otherwise cancel them or retroactively credit interest with respect to such property.

(d) Any automatically renewable property to which this Code section applies is matured upon the expiration of its initial time period.

However, in the case of any renewal to which the owner consents at or about the time of renewal by communicating in writing with the banking or financial organization or otherwise indicates consent as specified in subsection (a) of this Code section, the property is matured upon the expiration of the last time period for which consent was given. If, at the time provided for delivery in subsection (e) of Code Section 44-12-214, a penalty or forfeiture in the payment of interest would result from the delivery of the property, the time for delivery is extended until the time when no penalty or forfeiture would result. Title 44, Art. 12, §44-12-197.

(a) Funds held or owing under any life or endowment insurance policy or annuity contract which has matured or terminated are presumed abandoned if unclaimed for more than five years after the funds became due and payable as established from the records of the insurance company holding or owing the funds, except that property described in paragraph (2) of subsection (c) of this Code section is presumed abandoned if unclaimed for more than two years.

(b) If a person other than the insured or annuitant is entitled to the funds and no address of the person is known to the company or it is not definite and certain from the records of the company who is entitled to the funds, it is presumed that the last known address of the person entitled to the funds is the same as the last known address of the insured or annuitant according to the records of the company.

(c) For purposes of this Code section, a life or endowment insurance policy or annuity contract not matured by actual proof of the death of the insured or annuitant according to the records of the company is deemed matured and the proceeds due and payable if:

(1) The company knows that the insured or annuitant has died; or

(2) If all of the following conditions are met:

(A) The insured has attained, or would have attained if he were living, the limiting age under the mortality table on which the reserve is based;

(B) The policy was in force at the time the insured attained, or would have attained, the limiting age specified in subparagraph (A) of this paragraph; and

(C) Neither the insured nor any other person appearing to have an interest in the policy within the preceding two years, according to the records of the company concerning the policy or otherwise, indicated an interest as evidenced by a memorandum or other record on file prepared by an employee of the company.

(D) For purposes of this Code section, the application of an automatic premium loan provision or other nonforfeiture provision contained in an insurance policy does not prevent a policy from being matured or terminated under subsection (a) of this Code section if the insured has died or the insured or the beneficiaries of the policy otherwise have become entitled to the proceeds thereof before the depletion of the cash surrender value of a policy by the application of that provision.

(e) Notwithstanding any other provisions of law, if the company learns of the death of the insured or annuitant and the beneficiary has not communicated with the insurer within four months after the death, the company shall take reasonable steps to locate the beneficiary and pay the proceeds to the beneficiary.

(f) On and after January 1, 1991, every change of beneficiary form issued by an insurance company under any life or endowment insurance policy or annuity contract to an insured or owner who is a resident of this state must request the following information:

(1) The name of each beneficiary or, if a class of beneficiaries is named, the name of each current beneficiary in the class;

(2) The address of each beneficiary; and

(3) The relationship of each beneficiary to the insured.Title 44, Art. 12, §44-12-198.

The following funds held or owing by any utility are presumed abandoned:

(1) Any deposit made by a subscriber with a utility to secure payment for or any sum paid in advance for utility services to be furnished in this state, less any lawful deductions, that has remained unclaimed by the person appearing on the records of the utility entitled thereto for more than five years after the termination of the services for which the deposit or advance payment was made; and

(2) Any sum which a utility has been ordered to refund and which was received for utility services rendered in this state, together with any interest thereon, less any lawful deductions, that has remained unclaimed by the person appearing on the records of the utility entitled thereto for more than five years after the date it became payable in accordance with the final determination or order providing for the refund unless the regulatory body having jurisdiction over the utility has provided by order for a different disposition of such unclaimed funds. Title 44, Art. 12, §44-12-199.

Except to the extent otherwise ordered by a court or administrative agency of competent jurisdiction, any sum that a business association has been ordered to refund by a court or administrative agency which has remained unclaimed by the owner for more than five years after it became payable in accordance with the final determination or order providing for the refund, regardless of whether the final determination or order requires any person entitled to a refund to make a claim for it, is presumed abandoned. Title 44, Art. 12, §44-12-200.

(a) Pursuant to Code Section 44-12-193, any dividend, profit, distribution, interest, payment on principal, or other sum held or owing by a business association for or to its shareholder, certificate holder, member, bondholder, or other security holder, or a participating patron of a cooperative, who has not claimed it, corresponded in writing concerning it, or otherwise indicated an interest as evidenced by a memorandum or other record on file with the association within five years after the date prescribed for payment or delivery is presumed abandoned.

(b)

(1) Pursuant to Code Section 44-12-193, any intangible interest in a business association, as evidenced by the stock records or membership records of the association, is presumed abandoned if the interest in the association is owned by a person who for more than five years has neither claimed a dividend or other sum referred to in subsection (a) of this Code section nor corresponded in writing with the association and the association does not know the location of the owner at the end of such five-year period. With respect to such interest, the business association shall be deemed the holder.

(2) All intangible property, including but not limited to securities, principal, interest, dividends, or other earnings thereon, less any lawful charges, held by a business association; federal, state, or local government or governmental subdivision, agency, or entity; or any other person or entity, regardless of where the holder may be found, if the owner has not claimed such property or corresponded in writing with the holder concerning the property within five years after the date prescribed for payment or delivery by the issuer unless the holder is a state that has taken custody pursuant to its own unclaimed property laws, in which case no additional period of holding beyond that of such state is necessary pursuant to this subsection, is presumed abandoned and subject to the custody of this state as unclaimed property if:

(A) The last known address of the owner is unknown; and

(B) The person or entity originating or issuing the intangible property is this state or any political subdivision of this state or is incorporated, organized, created, or otherwise located in this state.

(3) The provisions of paragraph (2) of this subsection shall not apply to property which is or may be presumed abandoned and subject to the custody of this state pursuant to any other provision of law containing a dormancy period different from that prescribed in paragraph (2) of this subsection.

(4) The provisions of this subsection shall apply to all property held on April 13, 1992, or at any time thereafter, regardless of when such property became or becomes presumptively abandoned.

(c) Pursuant to Code Section 44-12-193, any dividends or other distributions held for or owing to a person at the time the stock or other security to which they attach are presumed abandoned also shall be presumed abandoned as of the same time.

(d) For the purposes of subsections (a) and (b) of this Code section, a record of the sending of a federal Internal Revenue Service Form 1099, or its equivalent, to the persons enumerated in those subsections and a record of its not being returned by the United States Postal Service, or its successor, shall be an indication of interest. Title 44, Art. 12, §44-12-201.

All property distributable in the course of a voluntary or involuntary dissolution or liquidation of a person that remains unclaimed by the person entitled thereto, within one year after the date of final distribution or liquidation, shall be presumed abandoned. Title 44, Art. 12, §44-12-202.

(a) Intangible property and any income or increment derived therefrom held in a fiduciary capacity for the benefit of another person is presumed abandoned unless the owner, within five years after it has become payable or distributable, has increased or decreased the principal, accepted payment of principal or income, communicated concerning the property, or otherwise indicated an interest as evidenced by a memorandum or other record on file prepared by the fiduciary.

(b) Funds in an individual retirement account or a retirement plan for self-employed individuals or similar account or plan established pursuant to the internal revenue laws of the United States are not payable or distributable within the meaning of subsection (a) of this Code section unless, under the terms of the account or plan, distribution of all or part of the funds would then be mandatory.

(c) For the purpose of this Code section, a person who holds property as an agent for a business association is deemed to hold the property in a fiduciary capacity for a business association alone, unless the agreement between him and the business association provides otherwise.

(d) For the purposes of this article, a person who is deemed to hold property in a fiduciary capacity for a business association alone is the holder of the property only insofar as the interest of the business association in the property is concerned, and the business association is the holder of the property insofar as the interest of any other person in the property is concerned. Title 44, Art. 12, §44-12-203.

All intangible property held for the owner by any state or federal court, government, governmental subdivision or agency, public corporation, or public authority which remains unclaimed by the owner for more than five years after becoming payable or distributable is presumed abandoned. Title 44, Art. 12, §44-12-204.

(a) A gift certificate or a credit memo issued in the ordinary course of an issuer’s business which remains unclaimed by the owner for more than five years after becoming payable or istributable is presumed abandoned.

(b) In the case of a gift certificate, the amount presumed abandoned is the price paid by the purchaser for the gift certificate. In the case of a credit memo, the amount presumed abandoned is the amount credited to the recipient of the memo. Title 44, Art. 12, §44-12-205.

Unpaid wages, including wages represented by unpresented payroll checks owing in the ordinary course of the holder’s business, that have remained unclaimed by the owner for more than one year after becoming payable are presumed abandoned. Title 44, Art. 12, §44-12-206.

(a) All employee benefit trust distributions and any income or other increment thereon are abandoned to this state under the provisions of this article if the owner has not, within five years after it becomes payable or distributable, accepted such distribution, corresponded in writing concerning such distribution, or otherwise indicated an interest as evidenced by a memorandum or other record on file with the fiduciary of the trust or custodial fund or administrator of the plan under which such trust or fund is established.

(b) An employee benefit trust distribution and any income or other increment thereon shall not be presumed abandoned to this state under the provisions of this article if, at the time such distribution shall become payable to a participant in an employee benefit plan, such plan contains a provision for forfeiture, if the trustees of an employee benefit plan supported wholly or partially from public funds adopt a provision for forfeiture, or if such plan expressly authorizes the trustee to declare a forfeiture of a distribution to a beneficiary thereof who cannot be found after a period of time specified in such plan, and the trust or fund established under the plan has not terminated prior to the date on which such distribution would become forfeitable in accordance with such provision. Title 44, Art. 12, §44-12-207.

(a) Any funds held or owing by a fire, casualty, or any other insurer or surety as defined in Title 33 or a hospital, medical, or dental service corporation organized under Title 31 that are due and payable, as established from the records of the insurer or surety either to an insured, a principal, or other claimant under any insurance policy or contract shall be presumed abandoned if they have not been claimed or paid within five years after becoming due or payable. Funds payable according to the insurer’s or surety’s records are deemed due and payable although the policy or contract has not been surrendered as required.

(b) If a person other than the insured, the principal, or the claimant is entitled to the funds and no address of the person is known to the insurer or surety or if it is not definite and certain from the records of the insurer or surety what person is entitled to the funds, it is presumed that the last known address of the person entitled to the funds is the same as the last known address of the insured, the principal, or the claimant according to the records of the insurer or surety.

(c) Any sum for the payment of a claim under an insurance policy or contract, which sum is payable on a negotiable instrument on which the insurer is the maker or drawer shall be presumed abandoned if, within five years from the date payable, or from the date of issuance, if payable on demand, the owner has not:

(1) Negotiated the instrument;

(2) Corresponded in writing with the insurer concerning it; or

(3) Otherwise indicated an interest by a writing on file with the insurer. Title 44, Art. 12, §44-12-208.

(a) If the rental due on a safe-deposit box has not been paid for one year, the lessor shall send a notice by registered mail or statutory overnight delivery to the last known address of the lessee stating that the safe-deposit box will be opened and its contents stored at the expense of the lessee unless payment of the rental is made within 30 days. If the rental is not paid within 30 days from the mailing of the notice, the holder shall provide written notification to the commissioner of the drilling date not less than 30 days prior to this time. The commissioner may designate a representative to be present during the opening of the safe-deposit box. The safe-deposit box shall be opened in the presence of an officer of the lessor. The contents shall be sealed in a package by the officer who shall write on the outside the name of the lessee and the date of the opening. The officer shall execute a certificate reciting the name of the lessee, the date of the opening of the safe-deposit box, and a list of its contents. The certificate shall be included in the package and a copy of the certificate shall be sent by registered mail or statutory overnight delivery to the last known address of the lessee. The package shall then be placed in the general vaults of the lessor at a rental not exceeding the rental previously charged for the safe-deposit box.

(b) If the contents of the safe-deposit box have not been claimed within two years of the mailing of the certificate, the lessor may send a further notice to the last known address of the lessee stating that, unless the accumulated charges are paid within 30 days, the contents of the safe-deposit box will be delivered to the commissioner as abandoned property under the provisions of Code Section 44-12-214.

(c) The lessor shall submit to the commissioner a verified inventory of all of the contents of the safe-deposit box upon delivery of the contents of the safe-deposit box or such part thereof as shall be required by the commissioner under Code Section 44-12-214, but the lessor shall not deduct from any cash of the lessee in the safe-deposit box an amount equal to accumulated charges for rental but shall submit to the commissioner a verified statement of such charges and deductions. If there is no cash, or insufficient cash to pay accumulated charges, in the safe-deposit box, the commissioner shall remit to the lessor the charges or balance due, up to the value of the property in the safe-deposit box delivered to him, less any costs or expenses of sale; but, if the charges or balance due exceeds the value of such property, the commissioner shall remit only the value of the property, less costs or expenses of sale. Any accumulated charges for safe-deposit box rental paid by the commissioner to the lessor shall be deducted from the value of the property of the lessee delivered to the commissioner.

(d) On and after January 1, 1991, a copy of this Code section shall be printed on every contract for rental of a safe-deposit box. Title 44, Art. 12, §44-12-209.

The abandonment period of any property described in Code Section 44-12-197 that is automatically renewable shall commence upon the expiration of its initial time period except that, in the case of any renewal to which the owner consents at or about the time of renewal by communicating in writing with the person holding the property or otherwise indicating such consent as evidenced by a memorandum on file prepared by an employee, the abandonment period shall commence upon the expiration of the last time period for which consent was given. Title 44, Art. 12, §44-12-210.

(a) Property which has been bequeathed to any person shall be presumed abandoned if not claimed by that person or his heirs, legatees, or distributees within five years after the death of the testator unless the will makes provision in case of a lapse, failure, or rejection of the bequest for the disposition of the property.

(b) When a person owning property is not known for five successive years to be living and neither the person named, his heirs, or distributees can be located or proved for five successive years to have been living, he shall be presumed to have died without heirs or distributees and his property shall be presumed abandoned. Title 44, Art. 12, §44-12-211.

If specific property which is subject to the provisions of Code Section 44-12-193 is held for or owed or distributable to an owner whose last known address is in another state by a holder who is subject to the jurisdiction of that state, the specific property is not presumed abandoned in this state and subject to this article if:

(1) It may be claimed as abandoned or escheated under the laws of such other state; and

(2) The laws of such other state make reciprocal provision that similar specific property is not presumed abandoned or escheatable by such other state when held for or owed or distributable to an owner whose last known address is within this state by a holder who is subject to the jurisdiction of this state. Title 44, Art. 12, §44-12-212.

(a) The commissioner may enter into agreements with other states to exchange information needed to enable this or another state to audit or otherwise determine unclaimed property that is subject to a claim of custody. The commissioner by rule may require the reporting of information needed to enable compliance with agreements made pursuant to this Code section and may prescribe the form.

(b) To avoid conflicts between the commissioner’s procedures and the procedures of administrators in other jurisdictions that enact the Uniform Unclaimed Property Act, the commissioner, so far as is consistent with the purposes, policies, and provisions of this article, before adopting, amending, or repealing rules, shall advise and consult with administrators in other jurisdictions that enact the Uniform Unclaimed Property Act and take into consideration the rules of administrators in other jurisdictions that enact the Uniform Unclaimed Property Act.

(c) The commissioner may join with other states to seek enforcement of this article against any person who is or may be holding property reportable under this article.

(d) At the request of another state, the Attorney General of this state may bring an action in the name of the administrator of the other state in any court of competent jurisdiction in this state to enforce the unclaimed property laws of the other state against the holder in this state of property subject to escheat or a claim of abandonment by the other state, if the other state has agreed to pay expenses incurred by the Attorney General in bringing that action.

(e) The commissioner may request that the attorney general of another state or any other person bring an action in the name of the commissioner in the other state. This state shall pay all expenses including attorney’s fees in any action under this subsection. The commissioner may agree to pay the person bringing the action attorney’s fees based in whole or in part on a percentage of the value of any property recovered in the action. Any expenses paid pursuant to this subsection may not be deducted from the amount that is subject to the claim by the owner under this article.Title 44, Art. 12, §44-12-213.

(a) Every person holding funds or other property, tangible or intangible, presumed abandoned under this article shall report and remit to the commissioner with respect to the property as provided in this Code section.

(b) The report shall be verified and shall include:

(1) The name and social security or federal identification number, if known, and last known address, including ZIP Code, if any, of each person appearing from the records of the holder to be the owner of any property of the value of $50.00 or more presumed abandoned under this article;

(2) In case of unclaimed funds of insurance corporations, the full name of the insured or annuitant and any beneficiary, if known, and the last known address according to the insurance corporation’s records;

(3) In the case of the contents of a safe-deposit box or other safekeeping repository or in the case of other tangible property, a description of the property and the place where it is held and may be inspected by the commissioner, and any amounts owing to the holder;

(4) The nature and identifying number, if any, or description of the property and the amount appearing from the records to be due, except that items of value under $50.00 each may be reported in aggregate;

(5) The date when the property became payable, demandable, or returnable, and the date of the last transaction with the owner with respect to the property; and

(6) Other information which the commissioner prescribes by rule as necessary for the administration of this article.

(c) If the person holding property presumed abandoned is a successor to other persons who previously held the property for the owner or if the holder has changed his name while holding the property, he shall file with his report all prior known names and addresses of each holder of the property.

(d) The report and remittance shall be filed before November 1 of each year as of June 30 next preceding, but the report and remittance of insurance corporations shall be filed before May 1 of each year as of December 31 next preceding. When property is evidenced by certificate of ownership as set forth in Code Section 44-12-201, the holder shall deliver to the commissioner a duplicate of any such certificate registered in the name of the commissioner at the time of report and remittance. The commissioner may postpone the reporting and remittance date upon written request by any person required to file a report.

(e) If the holder of property presumed abandoned under this article knows the whereabouts of the owner, the holder shall, before filing the annual report, communicate with the owner and take necessary steps to prevent abandonment from being presumed. All holders shall exercise due diligence, as defined in Code Section 44-12-192, at least 60 days but no more than 120 days prior to the submission of the report to ascertain the whereabouts of the owner if the holder has in its records an address for the apparent owner which the holder’s records do not disclose to be inaccurate and the property has a value of $50.00 or more.

(f) Verification, if made by a partnership, shall be executed by a partner; if made by an unincorporated association or private corporation, by an officer; and if made by a public corporation, by its chief fiscal officer.

(g) The initial report and remittance filed under this Code section shall include all items of property that would have been presumed abandoned if this article had been in effect during the 15 year period preceding January 1, 1973.

(h) Nothing in this Code section shall be construed to require a utility to include in its initial report any item of money or property as to which the name of the owner and his last known address do not appear in the records maintained by the utility in accordance with rules or practices sanctioned by any state or federal regulatory body having jurisdiction over the utility. Title 44, Art. 12, §44-12-214.

(a) The commissioner shall cause to be published notice of the reports filed under Code Section 44-12-214, once a year in a newspaper of general circulation.

(b) The published notice shall be entitled the “Georgia Unclaimed Property List” and shall contain the names in alphabetical order and the internal identification number of persons listed in the report and entitled to notice within the county as provided in Code Section 44-12-214.

(c) The notice shall contain a statement that information concerning the amount or description of the property and the name of the holder may be obtained by any persons possessing an interest in the property by addressing an inquiry to the commissioner.

(d) The commissioner is not required to publish in such notice any tem with a value of less than $50.00 unless he deems such publication to be in the public interest. Title 44, Art. 12, §44-12-215.

(a) Upon payment or delivery of abandoned property to the commissioner, the state shall assume custody and shall be responsible for the safekeeping of the property. Any person who pays or delivers abandoned property to the commissioner under this article is relieved of all liability, to the extent of the value of the property so paid or delivered, or for any claim which then exists or which thereafter may arise or be made with respect to the property. Any holder who has paid moneys to the commissioner pursuant to this article may reimburse any person appearing to such holder to be entitled thereto; and, upon proof of such payment and proof that the payee was entitled thereto, the commissioner shall forthwith reimburse the holder for the payment.

(b) In the event legal proceedings are instituted by any other state or states in any state or federal court with respect to unclaimed funds or abandoned property previously paid or delivered to the commissioner, the holder shall give written notification to the commissioner and the Attorney General of this state of such proceedings within ten days after service of process or at least ten days before the return date on which an answer or similar pleading is due or any extension thereof is secured by the holder. The Attorney General may take such action as he deems necessary or expedient to protect the interest of this state. The Attorney General, by written notice prior to the return date on which an answer or similar pleading is due or any extension thereof is secured by the holder, but in any event in reasonably sufficient time for the holder to comply with the directions received, shall either direct the holder actively to defend in the proceedings or direct that no defense be entered into the proceedings. If a direction is received from the Attorney General that the holder need not make a defense, this shall not preclude the holder from entering a defense in his own name if he should so choose. However, any defense made by the holder on his own initiative shall not entitle he holder to reimbursement for legal fees, costs, and other expenses as is provided in this Code section with respect to defenses made pursuant to the direction of the Attorney General. After the holder has actively defended in the proceedings pursuant to the direction of the Attorney General or has been notified in writing by the Attorney General that no defense need be made with respect to such funds, if a judgment is entered against the holder for any amount paid to the commissioner under this article, the commissioner, upon being furnished either proof of payment or satisfaction of such judgment, shall reimburse the holder the amount so paid. The commissioner shall also reimburse the holder for any legal fees, costs, and other directly related expenses incurred in legal proceedings undertaken pursuant to the direction of the Attorney General.

(c) Property removed from a safe-deposit box or other safekeeping repository that is received by the commissioner shall be subject to the holder’s right under this Code section to be reimbursed for the actual cost of the opening and to any valid lien or contract providing for the holder to be reimbursed for unpaid rent or storage charges. The commissioner shall make the reimbursement to the holder out of the proceeds remaining after the deduction of the commissioner’s selling costs. Title 44, Art. 12, §44-12-216.

(a) All abandoned property, other than money delivered to the commissioner under this article, shall, within three years after the delivery, be sold by him to the highest bidder at public sale in whatever city in the state affords, in his judgment, the most favorable market for the property involved. The commissioner may decline the highest bid and reoffer the property for sale if he considers the price bid insufficient. He need not offer any property for sale if, in his opinion, the probable cost of the sale exceeds the value of the property.

(b) Any sale held under this Code section shall be preceded by a single publication of notice thereof at least three weeks in advance of the sale in a newspaper of general circulation in the county where the property is to be sold.

(c) At any sale conducted by the commissioner pursuant to this article, the purchaser shall receive title to the property purchased free from all claims of the owner or prior holder thereof and of all persons claiming through or under them. The commissioner shall execute all documents necessary to complete the transfer of title.

(d) If the commissioner determines after investigation that any property delivered under this article has insubstantial commercial value of less than $100.00, he may destroy or otherwise dispose of the property at any time. No action or proceeding may be maintained against the state or any officer or against any holder for or on account of any action taken by the commissioner pursuant to this subsection. Title 44, Art. 12, §44-12-217.

(a) All funds received under this article, including the proceeds from the sale of abandoned property under Code Section 44-12-217, shall forthwith be deposited by the commissioner in the general fund, except that the commissioner shall retain in a separate trust fund a sum sufficient from which he shall make prompt payment of claims duly allowed by him as provided in Code Section 44-12-220. Before making a deposit he shall record the name and last known address of each person appearing from the holders’ reports to be entitled to the abandoned property and of the name and last known address of each insured person or annuitant and, with respect to each policy or contract listed in the report of an insurance corporation, its number, the name of the corporation, and the amount due.

(b) Before making any deposit to the credit of the general fund the commissioner may deduct:

(1) Any costs in connection with sale of abandoned property;

(2) Any costs of mailing and publication in connection with any abandoned property;

(3) Operating expenses;

(4) Amounts required to make payments to other states, during the next fiscal year, through reciprocity agreements; and

(5) Expenses for consulting services. Title 44, Art. 12, §44-12-218.

The commissioner, after receiving reports of property deemed abandoned pursuant to this article, may decline to receive any property reported which he deems to have a value less than the cost of giving notice and holding sale, or he may, if he deems it desirable because of the small sum involved, postpone taking possession until a sufficient sum accumulates. Unless the holder of the property is notified to the contrary within 120 days after filing the report required under Code Section 44-12-214, the commissioner shall be deemed to have elected to receive the custody of the property. Title 44, Art. 12, §44-12-219.

(a) A person, excluding another state, claiming an interest in any property paid or delivered to the commissioner may file with him a claim on a form prescribed by him and verified by the claimant.

(b) The commissioner shall consider each claim within 90 days after it is filed and give written notice to the claimant if the claim is denied in whole or in part. The notice may be given by mailing it to the last address, if any, stated in the claim as the address to which notices are to be sent. If no address for notices is stated in the claim, the notice may be mailed to the last address, if any, of the claimant as stated in the claim. No notice of denial need be given if the claim fails to state either the last address to which notices are to be sent or the address of the claimant.

(c) If a claim is allowed, the commissioner shall pay over or deliver to the claimant the property or the amount the commissioner actually received or the net proceeds if it has been sold by the commissioner. The owner is not entitled to receive income or other increments accruing after remittance to the commissioner.

(d) The commissioner may, after seven years following the receipt of property, destroy such records related to the property as deemed necessary; and after said seven-year period any claim relating to such property must be fully substantiated by a claimant, without recourse to such records. Title 44, Art. 12, §44-12-220.

Any person aggrieved by a decision of the commissioner or whose claim the commissioner has failed to act upon within 90 days after the filing of the claim may appeal such decision or lack of decision to the Superior Court of Fulton County. The proceeding shall be brought within 90 days after the decision of the commissioner or within 180 days of the filing of the claim if the commissioner fails to act. The appeal shall be tried de novo without a jury. Title 44, Art. 12, §44-12-221.

(a) The commissioner shall consider any claim filed under this article and may hold a hearing and receive evidence concerning it. If a hearing is held, he shall prepare a finding and a decision in writing on each claim filed, stating the substance of any evidence heard by him and the reasons for his decision. The decision shall be a public record.

(b) If the claim is allowed, the commissioner shall make payment forthwith. The claim shall be paid without deduction for costs of notice. Title 44, Art. 12, §44-12-222.

The expiration of any period of time specified by statute or court order, during which an action or proceeding may be commenced or enforced to obtain payment of a claim for money or property, shall not prevent the money or property from being presumed abandoned property nor affect any duty to file a report required by this article or to pay or deliver abandoned property to the commissioner. Title 44, Art. 12, §44-12-223.

(a) All agreements to pay compensation to recover or assist in the recovery of property reported and delivered to the commissioner under this article shall be unenforceable for 24 months after the date of payment or the delivery of property to the commissioner.

(b) The fees charged by any person, firm, or corporation to recover or assist in the recovery for and on behalf of a claimant of property reported and delivered to the commissioner under this article shall not exceed 10 percent of the value of the property recovered. All funds or property located by a person to be compensated by the payment of such a fee shall be paid or delivered directly to the owner and may not be paid or delivered to the person to receive the fee whether pursuant to a duly executed power of attorney or otherwise. Title 44, Art. 12, §44-12-224.

Any information or records required to be furnished to the commissioner shall be confidential except as otherwise necessary in the proper administration of this article. Title 44, Art. 12, §44-12-225.

The expiration, before or after July 1, 1990, of any period of time specified by contract, statute, or court order during which a claim for money or property can be made or during which an action or proceeding may be commenced or enforced to obtain payment of a claim for money or to recover property, does not prevent the money or property from being presumed abandoned nor affect any duty to file a report or to pay or deliver abandoned property to the commissioner as required by this article. Title 44, Art. 12, §44-12-226.

(a) A person, firm, or corporation who willfully fails to render any report or perform other duties required under this article shall pay a civil penalty of $100.00 for each day the report is withheld or the duty is not performed, but not more than $5,000.00.

(b) A person, firm, or corporation who willfully fails to pay or deliver property to the commissioner as required under this article shall pay a civil penalty equal to 25 percent of the value of the property that should have been paid or delivered.

(c) A person, firm, or corporation who willfully refuses after written demand by the commissioner to pay or deliver as required by his article is guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be punished by a fine not to exceed $1,000.00 or by imprisonment not to exceed six months or by both such fine and imprisonment. Title 44, Art. 12, §44-12-227.

(a) Every financial institution, banking organization, and business association and all other holders required to file a report under Code Section 44-12-214 shall retain all books, records, and documents necessary to establish the accuracy and compliance of such report for ten years after the property becomes reportable, except to the extent that shorter time is provided in accordance with Article 5 of Chapter 18 of Title 50, the “Georgia Records Act,” or in subsection (b) of this Code section or by rule of the commissioner. As to any property for which it has obtained the last known address of the owner, the holder shall maintain a record of the name and last known address of the owner for the same ten-year period.

(b) Any business associations that sell in this state their traveler’s checks, money orders, or other similar written instruments, other than third-party bank checks on which the business association is directly liable, or that provides such instruments to others for sale in this state shall maintain a record of those instruments while they remain outstanding, indicating the state and date of issue for three years after the date the property is reportable. Title 44, Art. 12, §44-12-228.

(a) The commissioner may require any person who has not filed a report to file a verified report stating whether or not the person is holding any unclaimed property reportable or deliverable under this article.

(b) The commissioner may at reasonable times and upon reasonable notice examine the records of any person to determine whether the person has complied with the provisions of this article. The commissioner may conduct the examination even if the person believes it is not in possession of any property reportable or deliverable under this article.

(c) If a holder fails to maintain the records required by Code Section 44-12-228 and the records of the holder available for the periods subject to this article are insufficient to permit the preparation of a report, the holder shall be required to report and pay such amounts as may reasonably be estimated from any available records. Title 44, Art. 12, §44-12-229.

The commissioner may employ the services of such independent consultants, and other persons possessing specialized skills or knowledge as he shall deem necessary or appropriate for the administration of this article, including, but not limited to, evaluation, maintenance, upkeep, management, sale and conveyance of property, and determination of sources of unreported abandoned property. Title 44, Art. 12, §44-12-230.

(a) The commissioner may bring an action in a court of competent jurisdiction to enforce this article. Notwithstanding the provisions of Code Section 44-12-214, the commissioner shall commence enforcement for the reporting, payment, or delivery of property presumed abandoned under this article, with the exception of property held in a fiduciary capacity, not later than seven years from the date the property is presumed abandoned.

(b) Properties due and owing under this Code section and not paid over to the commissioner on a timely basis shall be paid upon notice and demand by the commissioner or the commissioner’s delegate and shall be assessed and collected in the manner provided for assessment and collection of state taxes in Chapters 2, 3, and 4 of Title 48. The commissioner is authorized to issue an execution for the amounts due as provided in Code Section 48-3-1. The remedies specified in this subsection shall be in addition to all other remedies provided for in this article. Title 44, Art. 12, §44-12-231.

(a) This article does not relieve the holder of a duty that arose before July 1, 1990, to report, pay, or deliver property. A holder who did not comply with the law in effect before July 1, 1990, is subject to the applicable enforcement and penalty provisions that then existed and they are continued in effect for the purpose of this subsection, subject to Code Section 44-12-227.

(b) The initial report filed under this article for property that was not required to be reported before July 1, 1990, but which is subject to this article must include all items of property that would have been presumed abandoned during the ten-year period preceding July 1, 1990, as if this article had been in effect during that period. Title 44, Art. 12, §44-12-232.

Whenever the commissioner shall receive securities under this article in the name of the owner, he shall forthwith take appropriate action to transfer the record of ownership of said securities into the name of the commissioner. Title 44, Art. 12,  §44-12-233.

This article does not apply to any property held, due, and owing in a foreign country and arising out of a foreign transaction. Title 44, Art. 12,  §44-12-234.

The commissioner may make necessary rules and regulations to carry out the provisions of this article. Title 44, Art. 12,  §44-12-235.