What is Unclaimed Money in Hawaii?
Money and property abandoned by their rightful owners for varying reasons occasionally turn up in state and federal records. These funds, referred to as unclaimed money, can be in the form of insurance proceeds, money orders, safe deposit box contents, checks, cash, bonds, tax refunds, security deposits, and more.
In any U.S. state, holders of unclaimed money (for example, banks, insurance companies, and government agencies) turn unclaimed money over to the government after a specified timeframe passes. This timeframe is the dormancy period, while the process of handing over a property presumed abandoned to the government is called escheatment.
In Hawaii, the dormancy period for unclaimed money varies from one year for funds distributed in a class action to as much as fifteen years for traveler's checks. Once this period lapses, the holder must transfer it to the Department of Budget and Finance. As directed under Uniform Unclaimed Property Act, the agency acts as a custodian for the abandoned property (excluding real estate) until the rightful owner claims it.
How to Find Unclaimed Money in Hawaii
The Hawaii Department of Budget and Finance oversees the Hawaii Unclaimed Property Program, which publicly disseminates a list of unclaimed money to enable individuals to recover lost funds escheated to the State. Interested persons can request the Hawaii government's list of unclaimed money in the following ways:
- Online via the Unclaimed Property Search website
- By phone at (808) 586-1518
- In-person at the following address:
No. 1 Capitol District Building
250 South Hotel Street, Room 304
Honolulu, HI 96813
How Do I Find Hawaii Unclaimed Money for Free?
The public can access the Hawaii Department of Budget and Finance Unclaimed Property Search website at no cost to find unclaimed money. Some federal agencies also provide unclaimed money databases, which Hawaii residents can search to find and recover unclaimed funds for free. For example:
- The U.S. Department of the Treasury, Bureau of the Fiscal Service provides a search tool called Treasury Hunt that interested persons can use to check if they have unclaimed matured savings bonds that have stopped earning interest.
- The federal bankruptcy court in Hawaii also holds unclaimed money. Occasionally, the funds distributed to creditors in bankruptcy proceedings remain unclaimed, perhaps because a creditor's address is incorrect or the intended recipient dies. These funds may be claimed by the rightful creditors, their successors, or other eligible claimants. Interested individuals can search the U.S. Bankruptcy Unclaimed Funds Locator to find unclaimed bankruptcy funds.
How to Claim Unclaimed Money in Hawaii
Claiming unclaimed money in Hawaii involves searching for the money on the state's Unclaimed Property site and then submitting a claim form plus the required documentation to the State of Hawaii Unclaimed Property Program. There is no fee charged for claiming unclaimed money in the state. Below are the steps:
Finding the unclaimed money: Conduct a name search on the Unclaimed Property Search site provided by the Hawaii Department of Budget and Finance or call the Hawaii Unclaimed Property office at (808) 586-1518 to request a name search.
File a claim: Upon a successful unclaimed property search, an individual can proceed to file a claim with the Department of Budget & Finance Unclaimed Property Office. However, different types of unclaimed money claims can be filed in Hawaii, depending on the claimant's relationship with the funds.
An original owner is a person whose details (name and address) appear in a holder's records as the legitimate owner of the unclaimed money. Such a person can follow these steps to file a claim:
- Complete and sign the Claim for Return of Property Presumed Abandoned form. (Claims for stock or mutual fund shares, safe deposit box contents, or valued at $50 or more require notarized signatures.)
- Attach a clear copy of valid government-issued photo identification. Acceptable documents include a state driver's license, state ID card, military ID, or a passport.
- Attach a copy of any documentation proving property ownership.
- Mail all to the following address:
State of Hawaii
Unclaimed Property Program
P.O. Box 150
Honolulu, HI 96810
If the original owner of the unclaimed money is deceased, the heir or administrator of the deceased owner's estate can file a claim. The procedure and required documents needed to file a claim follow that specified above in the "Original Owner Claim" section.
However, the claimant must also submit a copy of a trust or probate document(s) showing an authorization to file a claim on behalf of the deceased owner. Suppose the deceased owner had no such document(s) and the gross value of the estate in Hawaii does not exceed $100,000. In that case, the claimant can submit a signed and notarized Affidavit for Collection of Personal Property of the Decedent form.
The claimant must also submit the deceased's death certificate. Persons submitting the Affidavit for Collection of Personal Property of the Decedent form must submit an original death certificate.
Note: A proof of property ownership document shows the claimant's last known address, as reported by the holder to the state. For original and deceased owners, the following documents are commonly accepted as proof of the reported address or evidence of having conducted business with the holder:
- Postmarked Envelope
- Bank or Credit Card Statement
- Mortgage Document
- Tax Return
- Birth or Marriage Certificate
- Motor Vehicle Registration
- Utility Statement
- Canceled Check
- Payroll Statement
An individual should submit this type of claim on behalf of a business. Below are the steps:
- Fill out and sign a Claim for Return of Property Presumed Abandoned form.
- Attach a copy of documentation proving ownership of the property. This includes a canceled check, tax return, postmarked envelope, or utility statement.
- Attach a copy of documentation showing evidence authorizing the claimant to sign the claim form on behalf of the business. For example, an Annual Corporate Exhibit or a Corporate Resolution.
- Attach a copy of documentation showing the claimant's position in the business. For instance, a business card or company identification.
- Attach a copy of documentation containing the federal identification number of the business.
- Submit the claim and required documents to the State of Hawaii Unclaimed Property Program:
State of Hawaii
Unclaimed Property Program
P.O. Box 150
Honolulu, HI 96810
Claimants may be notified if additional documents are needed to process the claim.
Individuals can call the State of Hawaii Unclaimed Property office at (808) 586-1589 for further information.
How Long Does It Take to Get Unclaimed Money in Hawaii?
Individuals who submit claims for unclaimed money in Hawaii can receive their money within 120 days. This is also the timeframe it takes for a person to know if the Hawaii Department of Budget and Finance denied their claim. Typically, the agency will notify a claimant - as per §523A-15 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes - if it approved or denied a claim.
If the Department of Budget and Finance approves a claim, the claimant will receive the money within 30 days of the date of the notice. However, suppose the department denies a claim. In that case, the claimant's notice will state the reasons for the denial, including any additional evidence the claimant should provide for the agency to process the claim. Then, the claimant may file a new claim or a court action under §523A-16 of the Hawaii Unclaimed Property Law.
Who Can Claim Unclaimed Money From Deceased Relatives in Hawaii?
In Hawaii, an heir or surviving family member can claim unclaimed money belonging to a deceased person. However, such a person must be named an executor of the decedent's estate in a will or listed on the deceased's trust or probate document. The claimant must also present documents that prove their eligibility to file the claim. As mentioned previously, these documents include:
- Proof of the rightful owner's death
- Proof of ownership of the property
- A copy of a probate or trust document showing an authorization to file a claim on behalf of the deceased owner. Where there is no such document, and the gross value of the estate is not above $100,000, the claimant must submit a signed and notarized Affidavit for Collection of Personal Property of the Decedent form
What Happens to Hawaii Unclaimed Money if No One Claims It?
Unclaimed money escheated to the State of Hawaii remains in the state's custody until the rightful owner claims it. The state's Unclaimed Property Program annually publishes a statewide notice, which contains owner names and the last known addresses of unclaimed property escheated to the state. Members of the public are also advised to search for unclaimed property via the Department of Budget and Finance's unclaimed property website.
Can Someone in Hawaii Claim Unclaimed Money From Another State?
Yes. Persons in Hawaii can claim unclaimed money from another state, provided their last known address was reported in that state or a holder did business there. Individuals interested in claiming unclaimed money from another state can contact the state agency in charge of the funds.
Unclaimed money in the United States is public and can be accessed by anyone through official or non-governmental services. Third-party unclaimed money search engines are easy to use and deliver fast results not limited by geographic region. Users can typically search for unclaimed money through third-party search sites using just a full name or business name. However, because these sites are not government-sponsored, the availability and accuracy of results can vary.