In the state of Massachusetts, a financial asset can be considered unclaimed if no activity regarding that asset is demonstrated by the owner during an extended length of time. The asset becomes unclaimed if the institution or person assigned to hold that asset is unable to contact the owner for a period of 3 years, or in the case of a traveler's check, for a period of 15 years. Some of the financial assets that can be considered unclaimed in Massachusetts are checking and savings accounts, unpaid commissions or wages, customer overpayments or deposits, uncashed benefits checks, money orders and gift certificates.
Although it is also referred to as "unclaimed property," unclaimed money is governed by a different set of criteria than real, or fixed, property, such as land or houses. In the state of Massachusetts, the Unclaimed Property Act, Chapter 200A of M.G.L. stipulates the criteria for determining and handling unclaimed money. The law also requires businesses, institutions and other parties to review their financial records annually to determine if any unclaimed funds exist that are reportable under Chapter 200A.
Individuals or businesses in Massachusetts that may be concerned regarding an asset being considered unclaimed can take precautionary steps to ensure their accounts are considered active. Making a deposit into an account of at least $1 each year will prevent the account from being considered unclaimed. A change of address should also be reported to any and all concerned parties.