Texas Disposition of Unclaimed Property Law


Texas 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 6 – UNCLAIMED PROPERTY
CHAPTER 71 – ESCHEAT OF PROPERTY
SUBCHAPTER A – GENERAL PROVISIONS

Escheat

(a) If an individual dies intestate and without heirs, the real and personal property of that individual is subject to escheat.

(b) “Escheat” means the vesting of title to property in the state in an escheat proceeding under Subchapter B.

Title 6, Chap. 71, Subchap. A, Sec. 71.001.

Presumption of Death
An individual is presumed dead for the purpose of determining if the individual’s real or personal property is subject to escheat if the individual:

(1) is absent from the individual’s place of residence for seven years or longer; and

(2) is not known to exist.

Title 6, Chap. 71, Subchap. A, Sec. 71.002.

Presumption of Intestacy
An individual is presumed to have died intestate if, on or before the seventh anniversary of the date of the individual’s death, the individual’s will has not been recorded or probated in the county where the individual’s property is located.

Title 6, Chap. 71, Subchap. A, Sec. 71.003.

Presumption of Death Without Heirs
An individual is presumed to have died leaving no heirs if for the seven-year period preceding the court’s determination:

(1) a lawful claim to the individual’s property has not been asserted; and

(2) a lawful act of ownership of the individual’s property has not been exercised.

Title 6, Chap. 71, Subchap. A, Sec. 71.004.

Act of Ownership
For the purposes of this chapter, an individual exercises a lawful act of ownership in property by, personally or through an agent, paying taxes to this state on the property.

Title 6, Chap. 71, Subchap. A, Sec. 71.005.

Review of Probate Decree

(a) If the state claims that an estate that has been administered in probate court in this state is subject to escheat, the state may have the judgment of the probate court reviewed by filing a petition in district court alleging that the administration of the estate was obtained by fraud or mistake of fact.

(b) The case shall be tried in accordance with the law for the revision and correction of a decree of the probate court.

Title 6, Chap. 71, Subchap. A, Sec. 71.006.

SUBCHAPTER B. ESCHEAT PROCEEDINGS

Petition for Escheat

(a) If any person, including the attorney general, the comptroller, or a district attorney, criminal district attorney, county attorney, county clerk, district clerk, or attorney ad litem is informed or has reason to believe that real or personal property is subject to escheat under this chapter, the person may file a sworn petition requesting the escheat of the property and requesting a writ of possession for the property.

(b) The petition must contain:

(1) a description of the property;

(2) the name of the deceased owner of the property;

(3) the name of the tenants or persons claiming the estate, if known; and

(4) the facts supporting the escheat of the estate.

(c) If the petition is filed by a person other than the attorney general, the person shall send to the attorney general written notice of the filing and a copy of the petition to permit the attorney general to elect to participate on behalf of the state.

(d) An action brought under this section is governed by the procedure relating to class actions provided by the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure.

(e) A petition filed under this section is not subject to an objection relating to misjoinder of parties or causes of action.

Title 6, Chap. 71, Subchap. A, Sec. 71.101.

Citation

(a) If a petition is filed under this subchapter, the district clerk shall issue citation as in other civil suits to:

(1) each defendant alleged by the petition to possess or claim the property that is the subject of the petition;

(2) any person required by this chapter to be cited; and

(3) persons interested in the estate, including lienholders of record.

(b) The citation required by Subdivision (3) of Subsection (a) must be published as required for other civil suits and must:

(1) briefly state the contents of the petition; and

(2) request all persons interested in the estate to appear and answer at the next term of the court.

Title 6, Chap. 71, Subchap. A, Sec. 71.102.

Party to Proceeding

(a) A person who exercises a lawful act of ownership in property that is the subject of an escheat proceeding must be made a party to the proceeding by:

(1) personal service of citation if the person is a resident of this state and the person’s address can be obtained by reasonable diligence; or

(2) service of citation on a person’s agent if the person is a nonresident or a resident who cannot be found and the agent can be found by the use of reasonable diligence.

(b) For the purposes of this section, reasonable diligence includes an inquiry and investigation of the records of the office of the tax assessor-collector of the county in which the property sought to be escheated is located.

(c) The comptroller is an indispensable party to any judicial or administrative proceeding concerning the disposition and handling of property that is the subject of an escheat proceeding and must be made a party to the proceeding by personal service of citation.

Title 6, Chap. 71, Subchap. A, Sec. 71.103.

Appearance of Claimants
Any person, whether named in the escheat petition or not, who claims an interest in property that is the subject of an escheat proceeding may appear, enter a pleading, and oppose the facts stated in the petition.

Title 6, Chap. 71, Subchap. A, Sec. 71.104.

Trial

(a) If a person appears and denies the state’s right to the property or opposes a material fact of the petition, the court shall try the issue as any other issue of fact.

(b) The court may order a survey as in other cases in which the title or the boundary of the land is in question.

Title 6, Chap. 71, Subchap. A, Sec. 71.105.

Default Judgment
If citation is issued in accordance with Section 71.102 and no person answers within the period provided by the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, the court shall render a default judgment in favor of the state.

Title 6, Chap. 71, Subchap. A, Sec. 71.106.

Judgment for State

(a) If the court renders a judgment for the state finding that an intestate died without heirs, the property escheats to the state and title to the property is considered to pass to the state on the date of death of the owner as established by the escheat proceeding. The court may award court costs to the state.

(b) If the judgment involves real property, the state may sell the property under the general laws governing the sale of Permanent School Fund lands, and, after the second anniversary of the date of the final judgment, the court shall issue a writ of possession for the property.

(c) If the judgment involves personal property, the court shall issue a writ of possession that contains an adequate description of the property as in other cases for recovery of personal property.

(d) When the record of an escheat proceeding reflects that a lienholder or his predecessor received actual or constructive notice of the escheat proceeding, the entry of the judgment in the escheat proceeding will either satisfy or extinguish any lien which the lienholder or his predecessor claimed or could have claimed on the escheated property at the escheat proceeding.

(e) The sheriff, constable, court clerk, or other officer appointed by the judge in an escheat proceeding shall execute a writ of possession by filing the writ with the deed or map records of the county when the escheated property relates to realty and by serving the writ on any holder, tenant, or occupant of any escheated property. Additionally, the person who executes a writ of possession shall either:

(1) post the writ for at least three consecutive weeks on the door or posting board of the county courthouse in the county where the proceeding was conducted or in the county where the property is located; or

(2) in the case of real property, post the writ for at least two consecutive weeks at a reasonably conspicuous place on the realty; or

(3) publicize the writ in any other fashion ordered by the court.

(f) After validly executing a writ of possession, the sheriff, constable, court clerk, or other appointed officer shall note the method of the execution of the writ on the writ return and shall return the writ to the clerk to be filed in the court records of the escheat proceeding.

Title 6, Chap. 71, Subchap. A, Sec. 71.107.

Costs Paid by State
If the property does not escheat, the state shall pay court costs. The clerk of the court shall certify the amount of the costs, and when the certificate is filed in the office of the comptroller of public accounts, the comptroller shall issue a warrant for the amount of the costs.

Title 6, Chap. 71, Subchap. A, Sec. 71.108.

Appeal; Writ of Error
A party who appeared at an escheat proceeding may appeal the judgment rendered or may file an application for a writ of error on the judgment. The attorney general or the other person acting on behalf of the state in the escheat proceeding may make an appeal or file the writ.

Title 6, Chap. 71, Subchap. A, Sec. 71.109.

SUBCHAPTER C. DISPOSITION OF ESCHEATED PROPERTY

Seizure and Sale of Personal Property

(a) If personal property escheated to the state, the court shall issue to the sheriff a writ that commands the sheriff to seize the escheated property.

(b) The sheriff shall:

(1) dispose of the personal property at public auction in accordance with the law regarding the sale of personal property under execution; and

(2) deposit into the State Treasury the proceeds of the sale, less court costs.

Title 6, Chap. 71, Subchap. A, Sec. 71.201.

Disposition of Real Property

(a) Real property that escheats to the state under this title before January 1, 1985, becomes a part of the permanent school fund. Real property that escheats to the state on or after January 1, 1985, is held in trust by the Commissioner of the General Land Office for the use and benefit of the foundation school fund. The revenue from all leases, sales, and use of land held for the foundation school fund shall be deposited to the credit of the foundation school fund.

(b) Before the 91st day after the day on which a judgment that provides for the recovery of real property is rendered, the clerk of the district court rendering the judgment shall send to the Commissioner of the General Land Office:

(1) a certified copy of the judgment; and

(2) notice of any appeal of that judgment.

(c) The commissioner shall list real property as escheated foundation school fund land or permanent school land as appropriate when the commissioner receives:

(1) a certified copy of a judgment under which the property escheats to the state and from which appeal is not taken; or

(2) a certified copy of notice of the affirmance on appeal of a judgment under which the property escheats to the state.

Title 6, Chap. 71, Subchap. A, Sec. 71.202.

Account of Escheated Property
The comptroller shall keep an account of the money paid to and real property vested in this state under this chapter.

Title 6, Chap. 71, Subchap. A, Sec. 71.203.

SUBCHAPTER D. RECOVERY OF ESCHEATED PROPERTY

Suit for Escheated Personal Property

(a) If personal property of a deceased owner escheats to the state under this chapter and is delivered to the state, a person who claims the property as an heir, devisee, or legatee of the deceased may file suit against the state in a district court of Travis County, Texas. The suit must be filed on or before the fourth anniversary of the date of the final judgment of the escheat proceeding.

(b) The petition must state the nature of the claim and request that the money be paid to the claimant.

(c) A copy of the petition shall be served on the comptroller, who shall represent the interests of the state. As the comptroller elects and with the approval of the attorney general, the attorney general, the county attorney or criminal district attorney for the county, or the district attorney for the district shall represent the comptroller.

Title 6, Chap. 71, Subchap. A, Sec. 71.301.

Recovery of Personal Property

(a) If in a suit filed under Section 71.301 the court finds that a claimant is entitled to recover personal property, the court shall order the comptroller to issue a warrant for payment of the claim without interest or costs.

(b) A copy of the order under seal of the court is sufficient voucher for issuing the warrant.

Title 6, Chap. 71, Subchap. A, Sec. 71.302.

Suit for Escheated Real Property

(a) If real property escheats to the state under this chapter, a person who was not personally served with citation in the escheat proceedings may file suit in the district court of Travis County for all or a part of the property. The suit must be filed not later than the second anniversary of the date of the final judgment in the escheat proceedings.

(b) A copy of the petition must be served on the attorney general, who shall represent the interests of the state.

(c) To the extent the claimant is adjudged to be the owner of all or a part of the property, the state is divested of the property.

Title 6, Chap. 71, Subchap. A, Sec. 71.303.

State as Party in Suit for Assets

(a) A suit brought for the collection of personal property delivered to the comptroller under this chapter must be brought in the name of this state.

(b) A suit brought for the possession of real property held in trust by the Commissioner of the General Land Office under this chapter must be brought in the name of this state.

Title 6, Chap. 71, Subchap. A, Sec. 71.304.

CHAPTER 72. ABANDONMENT OF PERSONAL PROPERTY
SUBCHAPTER A. GENERAL PROVISIONS

Application of Chapter

(a) Tangible or intangible personal property is subject to this chapter if it is covered by Section 72.101 and:

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

(2) the records of the holder do not disclose 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 disclose 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 or delivered 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 of the apparent owner, as shown on the records of the holder, is in a state that does not provide by law for the escheat or custodial taking of the property or is in a state in which the state’s 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 of the apparent owner, as shown on the records of the holder, 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:

(i) unknown; or

(ii) in a state that does not provide by law for the escheat or custodial taking of the property or in a state in which the state’s escheat or unclaimed property law is not applicable to the property; and

(B) the holder is a domiciliary of a state that does not provide by law for the escheat or custodial taking of the property or a state in which the state’s escheat or unclaimed property law is not applicable to the property.

(b) This chapter supplements other chapters in this title, and each chapter shall be followed to the extent applicable.

(c) This chapter applies to property held by life insurance companies with the exception of unclaimed funds, as defined by Section 3, Article 4.08, Insurance Code, held by those companies that are subject to Article 4.08, Insurance Code.

(d) A holder of property presumed abandoned under this chapter is subject to the procedures of Chapter 74.

(e) In this chapter, a holder is a person, wherever organized or domiciled, who is:

(1) in possession of property that belongs to another;

(2) a trustee; or

(3) indebted to another on an obligation.

(f) In this chapter, a corporation shall be deemed to be a domiciliary of the state of its incorporation.

Title 6, Chap. 72, Subchap. A, Sec. 72.001.

SUBCHAPTER B. PRESUMPTION OF ABANDONMENT

Personal Property Presumed Abandoned

(a) Except as provided by this section and Section 72.102, personal property is presumed abandoned if, for longer than three years:

(1) the existence and location of the owner of the property is unknown to the holder of the property; and

(2) according to the knowledge and records of the holder of the property, a claim to the property has not been asserted or an act of ownership of the property has not been exercised.

(b)

(1) The three-year period leading to a presumption of abandonment of stock or another intangible ownership interest in a business association, the existence of which is evidenced by records available to the association, commences on the first date that either a sum payable as a result of the ownership interest is unclaimed by the owner or a communication to the owner is returned undelivered by the United States Postal Service.

(2) The running of the three-year period of abandonment ceases immediately on the exercise of an act of ownership interest or sum payable or a communication with the association as evidenced by a memorandum or other record on file with the association or its agents.

(3) At the time an ownership is presumed abandoned under this section, any sum then held for interest or owing to the owner as a result of the interest and not previously presumed abandoned is presumed abandoned.

(4) Any stock or other intangible ownership interest enrolled in a plan that provides for the automatic reinvestment of dividends, distributions, or other sums payable as a result of the ownership interest is subject to the presumption of abandonment as provided by this section.

Title 6, Chap. 72, Subchap. B, Sec. 72.101.

Traveler’s Check and Money Order

(a) A traveler’s check or money order is not presumed to be abandoned under this chapter unless:

(1) the records of the issuer of the check or money order indicate that it was purchased in this state;

(2) the issuer’s principal place of business is in this state and the issuer’s records do not indicate the state in which the check or money order was purchased; or

(3) the issuer’s principal place of business is in this state, the issuer’s records indicate that the check or money order was purchased in another state, and the laws of that state do not provide for the escheat or custodial taking of the check or money order.

(b) A traveler’s check to which Subsection (a) applies is presumed to be abandoned on the latest of:

(1) the 15th anniversary of the date on which the check was issued;

(2) the 15th anniversary of the date on which the issuer of the check last received from the owner of the check communication concerning the check; or

(3) the 15th anniversary of the date of the last writing, on file with the issuer, that indicates the owner’s interest in the check.

(c) A money order to which Subsection (a) applies is presumed to be abandoned on the latest of:

(1) the fifth anniversary of the date on which the money order was issued;

(2) the fifth anniversary of the date on which the issuer of the money order last received from the owner of the money order communication concerning the money order; or

(3) the fifth anniversary of the date of the last writing, on file with the issuer, that indicates the owner’s interest in the money order.

Title 6, Chap. 72, Subchap. B, Sec. 72.102.

Preservation of Property
Notwithstanding any other provision of this title, a holder of abandoned property shall preserve the property and may not at any time, by any procedure, including a deduction for service, maintenance, or other charge, transfer or convert to the profits or assets of the holder or otherwise reduce the value of the property. For purposes of this section, value is determined as of the date of the last transaction or contact concerning the property.

Title 6, Chap. 72, Subchap. B, Sec. 72.103.

CHAPTER 73. PROPERTY HELD BY FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS
SUBCHAPTER A. GENERAL PROVISIONS

Definitions and Application of Chapter

(a) In this chapter:

(1) “Account” means funds deposited with a depository in an interest-bearing account, a checking or savings account.

(2) “Depositor” means a person who has an ownership interest in an account.

(3) “Owner” means a person who has an ownership interest in a safe deposit box.

(4) “Holder” means a depository.

(5) “Check” includes a draft, cashier’s check, certified check, registered check, or similar instrument.

(b) This chapter supplements other chapters in this title, and each chapter shall be followed to the extent applicable.

(c) Any property, other than an account, check, or safe deposit box, held by a depository is subject to the abandonment provisions of Chapter 72.

(d) A holder of accounts, checks, or safe deposit boxes presumed abandoned under this chapter is subject to the procedures of Chapter 74.

Title 6, Chap. 73, Subchap. A, Sec. 73.001.

Depository
For the purposes of this chapter, a depository is a bank, savings and loan association, credit union, or other banking organization that:

(1) receives and holds a deposit of money or the equivalent of money in banking practice or other personal property in this state; or

(2) receives and holds such a deposit or other personal property in another state for a person whose last known residence is in this state.

Title 6, Chap. 73, Subchap. A, Sec. 73.002.

Preservation of Inactive Account or Safe Deposit Box

(a) A depository shall preserve an account that is inactive and the contents of a safe deposit box that is inactive. The depository may not, at any time, by any procedure, including the imposition of a service charge, transfer or convert to the profits or assets of the depository or otherwise reduce the value of the account or the contents of such a box. For purposes of this subsection, value is determined as of the date the account or safe deposit box becomes inactive.

(b) An account is inactive if for more than one year there has not been a debit or credit to the account because of an act by the depositor or an agent of the depositor, other than the depository, and the depositor has not communicated with the depository. A safe deposit box is inactive if the rental on the box is delinquent.

(c) This section does not affect the provisions of Subchapter B, Chapter 59, Finance Code.

Title 6, Chap. 73, Subchap. A, Sec. 73.003.

SUBCHAPTER B. PRESUMPTION OF ABANDONMENT

Inactive Account or Safe Deposit Box Presumed Abandoned

(a) An account or safe deposit box is presumed abandoned if:

(1) the account or safe deposit box has been inactive for at least five years as determined under Subsection (b);

(2) the location of the depositor of the account or owner of the safe deposit box is unknown to the depository; and

(3) the amount of the account or the contents of the box have not been delivered to the comptroller in accordance with Chapter 74.

(b) For purposes of Subsection (a)(1):

(1) an account becomes inactive beginning on the date of the depositor’s last transaction or correspondence concerning the account; and

(2) a safe deposit box becomes inactive beginning on the date a rental was due but not paid.

Title 6, Chap. 73, Subchap. B, Sec. 73.101.

Checks
A check is presumed to be abandoned on the latest of:

(1) the third anniversary of the date the check was payable;

(2) the third anniversary of the date the issuer or payor of the check last received documented communication from the payee of the check; or

(3) the third anniversary of the date the check was issued if, according to the knowledge and records of the issuer or payor of the check, during that period, a claim to the check has not been asserted or an act of ownership by the payee has not been exercised.

Title 6, Chap. 73, Subchap. B, Sec. 73.102.

CHAPTER 74. REPORT, DELIVERY, AND CLAIMS PROCESS
SUBCHAPTER A. APPLICABILITY

Applicability

(a) Except as provided by Subsection (b), this chapter applies to a holder of property that is presumed abandoned under Chapter 72, Chapter 73, or Chapter 75.

(b) This chapter does not apply to a holder of property subject to Chapter 76.

Title 6, Chap. 74, Subchap. A, Sec. 74.001.

SUBCHAPTER B. PROPERTY REPORT

Property Report

(a) Each holder who on June 30 holds property that is presumed abandoned under Chapter 72, 73, or 75 of this code or under Chapter 154, Finance Code, shall file a report of that property on or before the following November 1. The comptroller may require the report to be in a particular format, including a format that can be read by a computer.

(b) Repealed by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1208, Sec. 5, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

(c) The property report must include:

(1) the name and social security number, if known, and the last known address, if any, of each person who, from the records of the holder of the property, appears to be the owner of the property, or the name and address, if known, of any person who is entitled to the property;

(2) a description of the property, the identification number, if any, and, if appropriate, a balance of each account, except as provided by Subsection (d);

(3) the date that the property became payable, demandable, or returnable;

(4) the date of the last transaction with the owner concerning the property; and

(5) other information that the comptroller by rule requires to be disclosed as necessary for the administration of this chapter.

(d) Amounts due that individually are less than $50 may be reported in the aggregate without furnishing any of the information required by Subsection (c).

Title 6, Chap. 74, Subchap. B, Sec. 74.101.

Signed Statement

(a) The person preparing a property report shall provide witheach copy of the report a statement signed by:

(1) the individual holding the reported property;

(2) a partner, if the holder is a partnership;

(3) an officer, if the holder is an unincorporated association or a private corporation; or

(4) the chief fiscal officer, if the holder is a public corporation.

(b) The statement must include the following sentence:

“This report contains a full and complete list of all property held by the undersigned that, from the knowledge and records of the undersigned, is abandoned under the laws of the State of Texas.”

(c) The comptroller may adopt rules or policies relating to the signature requirement, as the comptroller determines appropriate, to maximize the use of future developments in electronic filing technology.

Title 6, Chap. 74, Subchap. B, Sec. 74.102.

Retention of Records

(a) A holder required to file a property report under Section 74.101 shall keep a record of:

(1) the name, the social security number, if known, and the last known address of each person who, from the records of the holder of the property, appears to be the owner of the property;

(2) a brief description of the property, including the identification number, if any; and

(3) the balance of each account, if appropriate.

(b) The record must be kept for 10 years from the date on which the property is reportable, regardless of whether the property is reported in the aggregate under Section 74.101.

(c) The comptroller may by rule provide for a shorter period for keeping a record required by this section.

Title 6, Chap. 74, Subchap. B, Sec. 74.103.

Confidentiality of Property Report

(a) Except as provided by Section 74.201, 74.203, or 74.307, a property report filed with the comptroller under Section 74.101 is confidential until the second anniversary of the date the report is filed.

(b) The social security number of an owner that is provided to the comptroller is confidential.

Title 6, Chap. 74, Subchap. B, Sec. 74.104.

SUBCHAPTER C. NOTICE

Required Notice

(a) Except as provided by Section 74.202, the comptroller may use one or more methods as necessary to provide the most efficient and effective notice to each reported owner in the calendar year immediately following the year in which the report required by Section 74.101 is filed. The notice must be provided:

(1) in the county of the property owner’s last known address; or

(2) in the county in which the holder has its principal place of business or its registered office for service in this state, if the property owner’s last address is unknown.

(b) The notice must state that the reported property is presumed abandoned and subject to this chapter and must contain:

(1) the name and city of last known address of the reported owner;

(2) a statement that, by inquiry, any person possessing a legal or beneficial interest in the reported property may obtain information concerning the amount and description of the property; and

(3) a statement that the person may present proof of the claim and establish the person’s right to receive the property.

(c) Deleted by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1037, Sec. 21, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

(d) The comptroller may offer for sale space for suitable advertisements in a notice published under this section.

Title 6, Chap. 74, Subchap. C, Sec. 74.201.

Notice for Item With Value of Less Than $100
In the notice required by Section 74.201, the comptroller is not required to publish information regarding an item having a value that is less than $100 unless the comptroller determines that publication of that information is in the public interest.

Title 6, Chap. 74, Subchap. C, Sec. 74.202.

Authorized Notice

(a) During the calendar year immediately following the year in which the report required by Section 74.101 is filed, notice may be mailed to each person who has been reported with a Texas address and appears to be entitled to the reported property.

(b) The notice under Subsection (a) must conform to the requirements for notice under Section 74.201(b).

Title 6, Chap. 74, Subchap. C, Sec. 74.203.

Charge for Notice
The comptroller may charge the following against the property delivered under this chapter:

(1) expenses incurred for the publication of notice required by Section 74.201; and

(2) the amount paid in postage for the notice to the owner required by Section 74.203.

Title 6, Chap. 74, Subchap. C, Sec. 74.205.

SUBCHAPTER D. DELIVERY

Delivery of Property to Comtroller

(a) Except as provided by Subsection (c), each holder who on June 30 holds property that is presumed abandoned under Chapter 72, 73, or 75 shall deliver the property to the comptroller on or before the following November 1 accompanied by the report required to be filed under Section 74.101.

(b) If the property subject to delivery under Subsection (a) is stock or some other intangible ownership interest in a business association for which there is no evidence of ownership, the holder shall issue a duplicate certificate or other evidence of ownership to the comptroller at the time delivery is required under this section.

(c) If the property subject to delivery under Subsection (a) is the contents of a safe deposit box, the comptroller may instruct a holder to deliver the property on a specified date before November 1 of the following year.

Title 6, Chap. 74, Subchap. D, Sec. 74.3010.

Delivery of Money to Rural Scholarship Fund

(a) Notwithstanding and in addition to any other provision of this chapter or other law, a local telephone exchange company may deliver reported money to a scholarship fund for rural students instead of delivering the money to the comptroller as prescribed by Section 74.301.

(b) A local telephone exchange company may deliver the money under this section only to a scholarship fund established by one or more local telephone exchange companies in this state to enable needy students from rural areas to attend college, technical school, or another postsecondary educational institution.

(c) A local telephone exchange company shall file with the comptroller a verification of money delivered under this section that complies with Section 74.302.

(d) A claim for money delivered to a scholarship fund under this section must be filed with the local telephone exchange company that delivered the money. The local telephone exchange company shall forward the claim to the administrator of the scholarship fund to which the money was delivered. The scholarship fund shall pay the claim if the fund determines in good faith that the claim is valid. A person aggrieved by a claim decision may file a suit against the fund in a district court in the county in which the administrator of the scholarship fund is located in accordance with Section 74.506.

(e) The comptroller shall prescribe forms and procedures governing this section, including forms and procedures relating to:

(1) notice of presumed abandoned property;

(2) delivery of reported money to a scholarship fund; and

(3) filing of a claim.

(f) In this section, “local telephone exchange company” means a telecommunications utility certificated to provide local exchange service within the state and that is a telephone cooperative or has fewer than 50,000 access lines in service in this state.

(g) During a state fiscal year, the total amount of money that may be transferred by all local telephone exchange companies under this section may not exceed $400,000. The comptroller shall keep a record of the total amount of money transferred annually. When the total amount of money transferred during a state fiscal year equals the amount allowed by this subsection, the comptroller shall notify each local telephone exchange company that the company may not transfer any additional money to the company’s scholarship fund during the remainder of that state fiscal year.

Title 6, Chap. 74, Subchap. D, Sec. 74.3011.

Delivery of Money to Urban Scholarship Fund

(a) Notwithstanding and in addition to any other provision of this chapter or other law, a local exchange company may deliver reported money to a scholarship fund for urban students instead of delivering the money to the comptroller as prescribed by Section 74.301.

(b) A local exchange company may deliver the money under this section only to a scholarship fund established by one or more local exchange companies in this state to enable needy students from urban areas to attend college, technical school, or another postsecondary educational institution.

(c) A local exchange company shall file with the comptroller a verification of money delivered under this section that complies with Section 74.302.

(d) A claim for money delivered to a scholarship fund under this section must be filed with the local exchange company that delivered the money. The local exchange company shall forward the claim to the administrator of the scholarship fund to which the money was delivered. The scholarship fund shall pay the claim if the fund determines in good faith that the claim is valid. A person aggrieved by a claim decision may file a suit against the fund in a district court in the county in which the administrator of the scholarship fund is located in accordance with Section 74.506.

(e) The comptroller shall prescribe forms and procedures governing this section, including forms and procedures relating to:

(1) notice of presumed abandoned property;

(2) delivery of reported money to a scholarship fund; and

(3) filing of a claim.

(f) In this section, “local exchange company” means a telecommunications utility certificated to provide local exchange telephone service within the state and that has 50,000 or more access lines in service in this state and is not a telephone cooperative.

(g) During each state fiscal year, the total amount of money that may be transferred by all local exchange companies under this section may not exceed the total amount of money transferred to rural scholarship funds under Section 74.3011 during the previous state fiscal year. The comptroller shall keep a record of the total amount of money transferred annually. If the total amount of money transferred during a state fiscal year equals the amount allowed by this subsection, the comptroller shall notify each local exchange company that the company may not transfer any additional money to the company’s scholarship fund during the remainder of that state fiscal year.Title 6, Chap. 71, Subchap. D, Sec. 74.3012.

Delivery of Money for Rural Scholarship and Economic Development

(a) Notwithstanding and in addition to any other provision of this chapter or other law, a nonprofit cooperative corporation may deliver reported money to a scholarship fund for rural students or to stimulate rural economic development instead of delivering the money to the comptroller as prescribed in Section 74.301.

(b) A nonprofit cooperative corporation may deliver the money under this section only:

(1) to a scholarship fund established by one or more nonprofit cooperative corporations in this state to enable students from rural areas to attend college, technical school, or other postsecondary educational institution; and

(2) to an economic development fund for the stimulation and improvement of business and commercial activity for economic development in rural communities.

(c) A nonprofit cooperative corporation shall file with the comptroller a verification of money delivered under this section that complies with Section 74.302.

(d) A claim for money delivered under this section must be filed with the nonprofit cooperative corporation that delivered the money. A nonprofit cooperative corporation shall forward the claim to the administrator of the fund to which the money was delivered.

The fund shall pay the claim if the fund determines in good faith that the claim is valid. A person aggrieved by a claim decision may file a suit against the fund in a district court in the county in which the administrator of the fund is located in accordance with Section 74.506.

(e) The comptroller shall prescribe forms and procedures governing this section, including forms and procedures relating to:

(1) notice of presumed abandoned property;

(2) delivery of reported money to a scholarship or economic development fund;

(3) filing of a claim; and

(4) procedures to allow equitable opportunity for participation by each nonprofit cooperative corporation in the state.

(f) During a state fiscal year the total amount of money that may be transferred by all nonprofit cooperative corporations under this section may not exceed $1 million. No more than 20 percent of each nonprofit cooperative’s funds eligible for delivery under this section shall be used for economic development. The comptroller shall adopt procedures to record the total amount of money transferred annually to allow equitable opportunity for participation with preference given to corporations already providing similar scholarship opportunities in other states.

(g) Nonprofit cooperative corporations may combine economic development funds from other sources with any economic development funds delivered under this section. In addition, such cooperatives may engage in other business and commercial activities, in their own behalf or through such subsidiaries and affiliates as deemed necessary, in order to provide and promote educational opportunities and to stimulate rural economic development.

(h) In this section, a nonprofit cooperative corporation means a cooperative corporation organized under Chapters 51 and 52, Agriculture Code, the Texas Non-Profit Corporation Act (Article 1396 1.01 et seq., Vernon’s Texas Civil Statutes), the Cooperative Association Act (Article 1396 50.01, Vernon’s Texas Civil Statutes), and Chapter 161, Utilities Code.

Title 6, Chap. 74, Subchap. D, Sec. 74.3013.

Statement of Delivered Property

(a) Property delivered under Section 74.301 must be accompanied by a statement that:

(1) the property delivered is a complete and correct remittance of all accounts subject to this chapter in the holder’s possession;

(2) the existence and location of the listed owners are unknown to the holder; and

(3) the listed owners have not asserted a claim or exercised an act of ownership with respect to the owner’s reported property.

(b) The statement required by Subsection (a) shall be signed by:

(1) the individual holding the reported property;

(2) a partner, if the holder is a partnership;

(3) an officer, if the holder is an unincorporated association or a private corporation; or

(4) the chief fiscal officer, if the holder is a public corporation.

Title 6, Chap. 74, Subchap. D, Sec. 74.302.

Responsibility After Delivery

(a) If reported property is delivered to the comptroller, the state shall assume custody of the property and responsibility for its safekeeping.

(b) A holder who delivers property to the comptroller in good faith is relieved of all liability to the extent of the value of the property delivered for any claim then existing, that may arise after delivery to the comptroller, or that may be made with respect to the property.

(c) If the holder delivers property to the comptroller in good faith and, after delivery, a person claims the property from the holder or another state claims the property under its laws relating to escheat or unclaimed property, the attorney general shall, on written notice of the claim, defend the holder against the claim, and the holder shall be indemnified from the unclaimed money received under this chapter or any other statute requiring delivery of unclaimed property to the comptroller against any liability on the claim.

(d) The comptroller is not, in the absence of negligence or mishandling of the property, liable to the person who claims the property for damages incurred while the property or the proceeds from the sale of the property are in the comptroller’s possession. But in any event the liability of the state is limited to the extent of the property delivered under this chapter and remaining in the possession of the comptroller at the time a suit is filed.

(e) For the purposes of this section, payment or delivery is made in good faith if:

(1) payment or delivery was made in a reasonable attempt to comply with this chapter;

(2) the holder delivering the property was not a fiduciary then in breach of trust with respect to the property and had a reasonable basis for believing based on the facts then known to the holder that the property was abandoned or inactive for purposes of this chapter; and

(3) there is no showing that the records under which the delivery was made did not meet reasonable commercial standards of practice in the industry.

(f) On delivery of a duplicate certificate or other evidence of ownership to the comptroller under Subsection (b) of Section 74.301, the holder and any transfer agent, registrar, or other person acting for or on behalf of a holder in executing or delivering the duplicate certificate are relieved of all liability of every kind in accordance with this section to any person, including any person acquiring the original certificate or the duplicate of the certificate issued to the comptroller, for any losses or damages resulting to any person by the issuance and delivery to the comptroller of the duplicate certificate.

Title 6, Chap. 74, Subchap. D, Sec. 74.304.

Unclaimed Property Held by Federal Government

(a) If the federal government enacts a law that provides for the discovery of unclaimed property held by the federal government and that provides or makes that information available to the states, the comptroller may pay to the federal government from the unclaimed money received under this chapter or any other statute requiring the delivery of unclaimed property to the comptroller the proportional share of the necessary cost of examining records.

(b) If the federal government delivers unclaimed property to the comptroller, this state shall hold the federal government harmless from claims made by owners of the property after the delivery.

Title 6, Chap. 74, Subchap. D, Sec. 74.306.

Escheat of Funds in the Possession of the United States

(a) In the event any money is due to a resident of this state in the nature of a refund, rebate, or other overpayment of taxes or fees to the United States with respect to which the resident is likely to have his rights to secure such refund or rebate barred by a statute of limitations, or if for any reason at least three years has elapsed after the date on which the resident could have filed a timely claim for said refund or rebate, the comptroller is appointed agent of such resident to apply for said refund or rebate and is authorized to do any act which a natural person could do to recover said money. When the comptroller files an application or initiates any other proceeding to secure said refund or rebate, the comptroller is coupled with an interest in the money sought and money recovered. All property within this provision, including all principal and interest accruing thereon, is declared to have escheated and to have become the property of the state.

(b) The funds escheated by the state pursuant to this provision shall be given notice as provided by Section 74.201. Title to any such property shall be transferred by the state to any persons who in accordance with Subchapter F can show that the property belonged to them immediately prior to the escheat or that they were heirs to those funds immediately prior to the escheat.

Title 6, Chap. 74, Subchap. D, Sec. 74.3061.

List of Owners

(a) The comptroller shall compile and revise each year, except as to amounts reported in the aggregate, an alphabetical list of the names and last known addresses of the owners listed in the reports and the amount credited to each account.

(b) The comptroller shall make the list available for public inspection during all reasonable business hours.

Title 6, Chap. 74, Subchap. D, Sec. 74.307.

Period of Limitation Not a Bar
The expiration, on or after September 1, 1987, of any period specified by contract, statute, or court order, during which an action or proceeding may be initiated or enforced to obtain payment of a claim for money or recovery of property, does not prevent the money or property from being presumed abandoned property and does not affect any duty to file a report required by this chapter or to pay or deliver abandoned property to the comptroller.

Title 6, Chap. 74, Subchap. D, Sec. 74.308.

Private Escheat Agreements Prohibited
An individual, corporation, business association, or other organization may not act through amendment of articles of incorporation, amendment of bylaws, private agreement, or any other means to take or divert funds or personal property into income, divide funds or personal property among locatable patrons or stockholders, or divert funds or personal property by any other method for the purpose of circumventing the unclaimed property process.

Title 6, Chap. 74, Subchap. D, Sec. 74.309.

SUBCHAPTER E. DISPOSITION OF DELIVERED PROPERTY

Sale of Property

(a) Except as provided by Subsection (c), the comptroller shall sell at public sale all personal property, other than money and marketable securities, delivered to the comptroller in accordance with Section 74.301. The comptroller shall conduct the sale in the city in this state that the comptroller determines affords the most favorable market for the particular property.

(b) The comptroller shall sell the property to the highest bidder. If the comptroller determines that the highest bid is insufficient, the comptroller may decline that bid and offer the property for public or private sale.

(c) The comptroller is not required to offer property for sale if the property belongs to a person with an address outside this state or the comptroller determines that the probable cost of the sale of the property exceeds its value.

(d) If after investigation the comptroller determines that property delivered from a safe deposit box or other repository has insubstantial commercial value, the comptroller may destroy or otherwise dispose of the property at any time.

(e) A person may not maintain any action or proceeding against the state, an officer of the state, or the holder of property because of an action taken by the comptroller under this section.

Title 6, Chap. 74, Subchap. E, Sec. 74.401.

Notice of Sale
Before the 21st day preceding the day on which a public sale is held under Section 74.401, the comptroller shall publish notice of the sale in a newspaper of general circulation in the county where the sale is to be held.

Title 6, Chap. 74, Subchap. E, Sec. 74.402.

Purchaser’s Title

(a) At a sale, public or private, of property that is held under this subchapter, the purchaser receives title to the purchased property free from all claims of the prior owner and prior holder of the property and all persons claiming through or under the owner or holder.

(b) The comptroller shall execute all documents necessary to complete the transfer of title.

Title 6, Chap. 74, Subchap. E, Sec. 74.403.

SUBCHAPTER F. CLAIM FOR DELIVERED PROPERTY

Claim Filed With Comptroller

(a) The comptroller shall review the validity of each claim filed under this section.

(b) If the comptroller determines that a claim is valid, the comptroller or the comptroller’s authorized agent shall approve the claim. If the claim is for money and has been approved under this section, the comptroller shall pay the claim. If a claim is for personal property other than money and has been approved under this section, the comptroller shall deliver the property to the claimant unless the comptroller has sold the property. If the property has been sold under Section 74.401, the comptroller shall pay to the claimant the proceeds from the sale.

(c) All claims to which this section applies must be filed in accordance with procedures, contain the information, and be on forms prescribed by the comptroller.

Title 6, Chap. 74, Subchap. F, Sec. 74.501.

Claim Filed With Holder

(a) If a claim is filed with a holder under this section and the holder determines in good faith that the claim is valid, the holder may pay the amount of the claim.

(b) The comptroller shall reimburse the holder for a valid claim paid under this section.

(c) The request from a holder for reimbursement must be filed in accordance with procedures and on forms prescribed by the comptroller.

Title 6, Chap. 74, Subchap. F, Sec. 74.502.

Hearing

(a) The comptroller may hold a hearing and receive evidence concerning a claim filed under this subchapter.

(b) If the comptroller considers that a hearing is necessary to determine the validity of a claim, the comptroller shall sign the statement of the findings and the decision on the claim. The statement shall report the substance of the evidence heard and the reasons for the decision. The statement is a public record.

(c) If the comptroller determines that a claim is valid, the comptroller shall approve and sign the claim.

Title 6, Chap. 74, Subchap. F, Sec. 74.504.

Appeal

(a) A person aggrieved by the decision of a claim filed under this subchapter may appeal the decision before the 61st day after the day on which it was rendered.

(b) If a claim has not been decided before the 91st day after the day on which it was filed, the claimant may appeal within the 60-day period beginning on the 91st day after the day of filing.

(c) An appeal under this section must be made by filing suit against the state in a district court in Travis County, Texas. The state’s immunity from suit without consent is abolished with respect to suits brought under this section.

(d) A court shall try an action filed under this section de novo and shall apply the rules of practice of the court.

Title 6, Chap. 74, Subchap. F, Sec. 74.506.

Fee for Recovery

(a) A person who informs a potential claimant that the claimant may be entitled to claim property that is reportable to the comptroller under this chapter, that has been reported to the comptroller, or that is in the possession of the comptroller may not contract for or receive from the claimant for services an amount that exceeds 10 percent of the value of the property recovered. If the property involved is mineral proceeds, the amount for services may not include a portion of the underlying minerals or any production payment, overriding royalty, or similar payment.

(b) The person who informs a potential claimant and by contract or other written agreement is to receive a percentage of the value of the property may not file or receive a form to claim on behalf of a claimant.

Title 6, Chap. 71, Subchap. F, Sec. 74.507.

Claim of Another State to Recover Property; Procedure

(a) At any time after property has been paid or delivered to the comptroller under this chapter, another state may recover the property if:

(1) the property was subjected to custody by this state because the records of the holder did not reflect the last known address of the apparent owner when the property was presumed abandoned under this chapter, and the other state establishes that the last known address of the apparent owner or other person entitled to the property was in that state and under the laws of that state the property escheated to or was subject to a claim of abandonment by that state;

(2) the last known address of the apparent owner or other person entitled to the property, as reflected by the records of the holder are in the other state and under the laws of that state the property has escheated to or become subject to a claim of abandonment by that state;