Unclaimed property in Massachusetts laws and regulations are partially derived from the common law of property. They generally define unclaimed property as property which has left the original owner’s possession without directly entering the possession of another party.
MA abandoned property and unclaimed property laws that are relevant to a particular case depend heavily on the circumstances under which the unclaimed property is found. Unclaimed property may generally be grouped into the following categories:
- Lost property is found in a location where the owner did not intend to leave it and is not likely to find it. The finder of unclaimed property in MA is entitled to possession against everyone but the true owner. One exception to this rule occurs when a trespasser finds lost property while on private land.
- Mislaid property is found in a location where the owner did intend to leave it and forgot to pick it up. Mislaid property must be returned to the owner.
- Abandoned property of Massachusetts is found where the owner intended to leave it. However, the condition of the property is such that it is unlikely that the true owner intends to reclaim it. Abandoned property belongs to the finder.
Study Massachusetts unclaimed property law that relates to ownersLaws on unclaimed property commonly determine when unclaimed property must be returned to the owner. Unclaimed property laws and regulations represent a valuable resource for owners who wish to locate their MA lost property. The Massachusetts Department of the Treasury is in charge of locating unclaimed property for an individual.
Review the laws that are specific to holders of state of Massachusetts unclaimed propertyThese laws most commonly affect financial institutions that have inactive or dormant accounts. They can also determine when the holder becomes the owner of the unclaimed property.
Examine state of MA unclaimed property law that is specific to findersUnclaimed property laws for finders may regulate fees that the finder may charge the owner for delivering, locating or recovering the unclaimed property. These laws may also determine when found property reverts to the finder.
- The Uniform Unclaimed Property Act is a key piece of federal legislation that affects abandoned property in MA. The Act seeks to address the problems of unclaimed property that arise from its origins in English common law. The National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws first drafted the Uniform Unclaimed Property Act in 1981 and last revised it in 1995.