Chapter 716 Escheats

Link to law: http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0700-0799%2F0716%2F0716.html
Published: 2015

CHAPTER 716
ESCHEATS

716.01 Declaration of policy.

716.02 Escheat of funds in the possession of federal agencies.

716.03 Department to institute proceedings to recover escheated property.

716.04 Jurisdiction.

716.05 Money recovered to be paid into State Treasury.

716.06 Public records.

716.07 Recovery of escheated property by claimant.

716.01 Declaration of policy.—It is hereby declared to be the policy of the state, while protecting the interests of the owners thereof, to possess all unclaimed and abandoned money and property for the benefit of all the people of the state, and this law shall be liberally construed to accomplish such purpose.
History.—s. 1, ch. 24333, 1947.

716.02 Escheat of funds in the possession of federal agencies.—All property within the provisions of subsections (1), (2), (3), (4) and (5), are declared to have escheated, or to escheat, including all principal and interest accruing thereon, and to have become the property of the state.
(1) All money or other property which has remained in, or has been deposited in the custody of, or under the control of, any court of the United States, in and for any district within this state, or which has been deposited with and is in the custody of any depository, registry, clerk or other officer of such court, or the United States treasury, which money or other property the rightful owner or owners thereof, either:
(a) Has been unknown for a period of 5 or more consecutive years; or,

(b) Has died, without having disposed thereof, and without having left heirs, next of kin or distributees, or

(c) Has made no demand for such money or other property for 5 years;

are declared to have escheated, or to escheat, together with all interest accrued thereon, and to have become the property of the state.

(2) After June 16, 1947, all money or other property which has remained in, or has been deposited in the custody of, or under the control of, any court of the United States, in and for any district within this state, for a period of 4 years, the rightful owner or owners of which, either:
(a) Shall have been unknown for a period of 4 years; or,

(b) Shall have died without having disposed thereof, and without having left or without leaving heirs, next of kin or distributees; or,

(c) Shall have failed within 4 years to demand the payment or delivery of such funds or other property;

is hereby declared to have escheated, or to escheat, together with all interest accrued thereon, and to have become the property of the state.

(3) All money or other property which has remained in, or has been deposited in the custody of, or under the control of any officer, department or agency of the United States for 5 or more consecutive years, which money or other property had its situs or source in this state, except as hereinafter provided in subsection (4), the sender of which is unknown, or who sent the money or other property for an unknown purpose, or money which is credited as “unknown,” and which said governmental agency is unable to credit to any particular account, or the sender of which has been unknown for a period of 5 or more consecutive years; or when known, has died without having disposed thereof, and without leaving heirs, next of kin or distributees, or for any reason is unclaimed from such governmental agency.

(4) In the event any money is due to any resident of this state as a refund, rebate or tax rebate from the United States Commissioner of Internal Revenue, the United States Treasurer, or other governmental agency or department, which said resident will, or is likely to have her or his rights to apply for and secure such refund or rebate barred by any statute of limitations or, in any event, has failed for a period of 1 year after said resident could have filed a claim for said refund or rebate, the Department of Financial Services is appointed agent of such resident to demand, file and apply for said refund or rebate, and is appointed to do any act which a natural person could do to recover such money, and it is hereby declared that when the department files such application or any other proceeding to secure such refund or rebate, its agency is coupled with an interest in the money sought and money recovered.

(5) It is the purpose of this chapter to include all funds or other property in the possession of the government of the United States, and of its departments, officers, and agencies, which property has its situs in this state or belonged to a resident thereof, and not to limit the application of this chapter by the naming of any particular agency. This chapter shall include all funds held in the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, Comptroller of Currency, United States Treasury, Department of Internal Revenue, federal courts, registry of federal courts, and such evidences of indebtedness as adjusted service bonds, old matured debts issued prior to 1917, unclaimed and interest thereon, postal savings bonds, liberty bonds, victory notes, treasury bonds, treasury notes, certificates of indebtedness, treasury bills, treasurer’s savings certificates, bonuses and adjusted compensation, allotments, and all unclaimed refunds or rebates of whatever kind or nature, which are subjects of escheat, under the terms of this chapter. Provided, however, that nothing in this chapter shall be construed to mean that any refunds due ratepayers under order of any court of the United States shall become the property of the state.

History.—s. 2, ch. 24333, 1947; s. 11, ch. 25035, 1949; ss. 12, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 1, ch. 70-405; s. 36, ch. 93-268; s. 847, ch. 97-102; s. 1881, ch. 2003-261.

716.03 Department to institute proceedings to recover escheated property.—When there exists, or may exist, escheated funds or property under this chapter, the Department of Financial Services shall demand or institute proceedings in the name of the state for an adjudication that an escheat to the state of such funds or property has occurred; and shall take appropriate action to recover such funds or property.
History.—s. 3, ch. 24333, 1947; s. 11, ch. 25035, 1949; ss. 12, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 1882, ch. 2003-261.

716.04 Jurisdiction.—Whenever the Department of Financial Services is of the opinion an escheat has occurred, or shall occur, of any money or other property deposited in the custody of, or under the control of, any court of the United States, in and for any district within the state, or in the custody of any depository, registry or clerk or other officer of such court, or the treasury of the United States, it shall cause to be filed a complaint in the Circuit Court of Leon County, or in any other court of competent jurisdiction, to ascertain if any escheat has occurred, and to cause said court to enter a judgment or decree of escheat in favor of the state, with costs, disbursements, and attorney fee.
History.—s. 4, ch. 24333, 1947; ss. 12, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 1883, ch. 2003-261.

716.05 Money recovered to be paid into State Treasury.—When any funds or property which has escheated within the meaning of this chapter has been recovered by the Department of Financial Services, the department shall first pay all costs incident to the collection and recovery of such funds or property and shall promptly deposit the remaining balance of such funds or property with the Chief Financial Officer, to be distributed in accordance with law.
History.—s. 5, ch. 24333, 1947; ss. 12, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 153, ch. 83-216; s. 1884, ch. 2003-261.

716.06 Public records.—All records in the office of the Chief Financial Officer or the Department of Financial Services relating to federal funds, pursuant to this chapter, shall be public records.
History.—s. 6, ch. 24333, 1947; ss. 12, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 1885, ch. 2003-261.

716.07 Recovery of escheated property by claimant.—
(1) Any person who claims any property, funds, or money delivered to the Treasurer or Chief Financial Officer under this chapter, shall, within 5 years from the date of receipt of such property, funds, or money, file a verified claim with the Chief Financial Officer, setting forth the facts upon which such party claims to be entitled to recover such money or property. All claims made for recovery of property, funds, or money, not filed within 5 years from the date that such property, funds, or money is received by the Chief Financial Officer, shall be forever barred, and the Chief Financial Officer shall be without power to consider or determine any claims so made by any claimant after 5 years from the date that the property, funds, or money was received by the Chief Financial Officer.

(2) The Chief Financial Officer shall approve or disapprove the claim. If the claim is approved, the funds, money, or property of the claimant, less any expenses and costs which shall have been incurred by the state in securing the possession of said property, as provided by this chapter, shall be delivered to the claimant by the Chief Financial Officer upon warrant issued according to law and her or his receipt taken therefor. If the court finds, upon any judicial review, that the claimant is entitled to the property, money, or funds claimed, and shall render judgment in her or his or its favor, declaring that the claimant is entitled to such property, funds, or money, then upon presentation of said judgment or a certified copy thereof to the Chief Financial Officer, the Chief Financial Officer shall draw her or his warrant for the amount of money stated in such judgment, without interest or cost to the state, less any sum paid by the state as costs or expenses in securing possession of such property, funds, or money. When payment has been made to any claimant, no action thereafter shall be maintained by any other claimant against the state or any officer thereof, for or on account of such money, property, or funds.

History.—s. 7, ch. 24333, 1947; s. 30, ch. 63-559; ss. 12, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 7, ch. 78-95; s. 848, ch. 97-102; s. 1886, ch. 2003-261.
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