Delaware General Assembly





Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Delaware:

Section 1. Title 12, Chapter 11, is amended by adding a new subchapter IV to read as follows:


§ 1197. Other property escheated

All property, as hereinafter defined, and not otherwise subject to escheat in accordance with the provisions of this chapter, the title to which has failed and the power of alienation suspended by reason of, (a) the death of the owner thereof, intestate, leaving no known heirs-at-law; (b) the owner thereof having disappeared or being missing from his last known place of residence for a continuous period of 7 years or more, leaving no known heirs-at-law; or (c) the same having been abandoned by the owner thereof, as hereinafter defined, shall descend to the State of Delaware as an escheat in accordance with the Constitution, the general laws of this State or the provisions of this Act."

§ 1198. Definitions

(a) 'Person' includes a natural person, a corporation doing business, or which has been engaged in business in this State, a co-partnership, a voluntary association, and every or any other association or organization of individuals, but excludes banking organizations, any court, and any life insurance company.

(b) 'Property' means personal property, of every kind or description, tangible or intangible, in the possession or under the control of a holder, as hereinafter defined, and includes, but not

by way of limitation, (1) money; (2) bills of exchange; (3) stocks, bonds and other securities; (4) credits, including wages and other allowances for services earned or accrued on or after January 1, 1958; money orders and travelers checks; also proceeds held for unredeemed gift certificates; (5) dividends, cash or stock; (6) certificates of membership in a corporation or association; (7) security deposits; (8) funds deposited by holder with fiscal agents of fiduciaries for payment to owner of dividends, coupon interest and liquidation value of stocks and bonds; (9) funds to redeem stocks and bonds; (10) amounts refundable from excess or increased rates or charges heretofore or hereafter collected by a corporation for utility services lawfully furnished by it, which have been or shall hereafter lawfully be ordered refunded to consumers or other persons entitled thereto and any interest due thereon, and which have remained unclaimed by the persons entitled thereto for 7 years from the date they became payable in accordance with the final determination or order providing for the refunds; and (11) all other liquidated choses-in-action of whatsoever kind of character. The word 'property' does not include credits or deposits evidenced by cash balances on unclaimed or refused personal property, nor any property, except the items specified in items (1) to (11) in this subdivision, the right to recover which in a proceeding brought by the owner would be barred by the provisions of any statute of limitations, state or federal.

(c) 'Owner,' in addition to its commonly accepted meaning, shall be construed to particularly mean and include any person, as hereinbefore defined, having the legal or equitable title to property coming within the purview of this act.

(d) 'Holder' means any person having possession, custody or control of the property of another person, and includes a credit union; a post office; a depository; a bailee; a trustee; a receiver or other liquidating officer; a fiduciary; a governmental department, institution or agency; a municipal corporation and the fiscal officers thereof; a public utility, service corporation; and every other legal entity doing business in this State. This definition shall be construed as distinguishing the term 'holder' of property from the term 'owner' of property as hereinbefore defined, and as excluding from the term 'holder' any person holding or possessing property by virtue of title or ownership.

(e) 'Abandoned property' means property against which a full period of dormancy has run.

() 'Period of dormancy' means the full and continuous period of 7 years, except a period of fifteen years for travelers checks, during which an owner has ceased, failed or neglected to exercise dominion or control over his property or to assert a right of ownership or possession; or to make presentment and demand for payment and satisfaction; or to do any other act in relation to or concerning such property. The term does not apply to a period of time during which the owner has failed or neglected to make a demand or file a claim within the time prescribed in an order or decree of court or in a legal notice served and published pursuant to law or an order of court, and the period of dormancy shall not commence to run with respect to claims, demands, or other property held by a holder pursuant to a written agreement which contemplates that there shall be a period of inactivity, until the expiration of the contemplated period of inactivity. This definition shall be construed as excluding any act or doing of a holder of abandoned property not done at the express request or authorization of the owner.

(a) 'Escheat' means the descent or devolution of property to the State under and by virtue of the Constitution of the State, the provisions of the general laws of this State, or the provisions of this act.

() 'Escheatable property' means property which is subject to escheat to the State under and by virtue of the provisions of the Constitution of the State, the general laws of this State, or the provisions of this act.

(a) 'Escheated property' means property which has descended to the state as an escheat.

(b) 'Appropriation' means the act of the state, through its duly constituted officers or agencies, in taking or accepting possession or custody of abandoned, unprotected, unclaimed or lost property as conservator thereof for later disposition by descent to the State as an escheat or redemption by the owner as provided in this Act.

(c) 'Redemption' means the reclamation of escheated property, or the proceeds of the sale thereof, made by the owner or other person entitled thereto, pursuant to the provisions of this Act.

(1) 'Unprotected property' means and refers to property which the owner thereof has mislaid or left unprotected against loss, damage, waste or deterioration under circumstances indicating the disappearance of the owner or an abandonment of the property.

§ 1199. Reports by holders of abandoned property

Every holder of abandoned property as herein defined shall on or before the thirtieth day of June of each year make and file with the state Escheator a report, in duplicate, as of the last preceding first day of January, containing a full, true and itemized statement of all abandoned property in his possession or under his control not previously reported: Provided, That the requirements of this section for an annual report shall not apply to fiduciaries of decedent estates, nor to municipal corporations and the fiscal officers thereof, other than counties and the fiscal officers thereof, except when such municipal corporation is a holder of such property in a capacity other than a governmental capacity or as bailee, or by virtue of other special contact, express or implied.

§ 1200. Payment or delivery

(A) Every holder of abandoned property who has filed the report required by Section 1199 hereof, within ninety (90) days after receipt of written demand from the State issued subsequent to said report, shall, where required, pay or deliver to the State all such property subject to the custody and control of the State under this Act, except that, if the owner of any such property establishes his right to receive the property to the satisfaction of the holder, or if it appears that for some other reason the property is not then subject to the custody and control of the State under this Act, the holder need not pay or deliver the property to the State, but in lieu thereof shall file a verified written explanation of the proof of claim or as to the reason the property is not subject to the custody and control of the State. Any holder who has paid moneys to the State pursuant to this Act may make payment to any person appearing to such holder to be entitled thereto, and upon proof of such payment and proof that the payee was entitled

thereto, the State shall forthwith reimburse the holder for the payment.

(B) A receipt shall be issued, on behalf of the State, for all property received under this Act.

§ 1201. Periods of limitation

If any holder required to file a report under any Act in effect prior to the effective date of this Act, or under this Act, has filed or files a report, no action shall be commenced or maintained against such holder unless it has been or is commenced within seven (7) years after such report has been or is filed.

§ 1202. Effect of laws of other States

This Act shall not apply to any property that has been presumed abandoned, properly escheated or subject to custody and control of another jurisdiction under the laws of such other jurisdictions prior to the effective date of this Act.

Section 2. Section 1176 of Title 12 is amended by adding the following after the words "amount paid to the State Escheator" and before the words "Such reimbursement":

Any issuer of money orders and travelers checks who has paid to the State Escheator abandoned property held or owing for the payment of a money order or travelers check may make payment to the person entitled thereto, and shall thereby be entitled to reimbursement of the amount paid to the State Escheator upon proof of such payment in the form of the paid instrument or in the absence of the paid instrument, the agreement of the issuer to hold harmless and indemnify the State of Delaware and its State Escheator from any and all claims with regard to such instrument.

Approved July 13, 1971