Governments cashing in on “abandoned” assests.

Have you checked your bank account lately? Used that old savings account in the last year? You might want to check to see if your assets are still there.

All over the world, governments are shortening the time periods required before they can seize "dormant bank accounts" and "unclaimed property" For example, as you will read about below, just last year the government of Australia seized a whopping 360 million dollars from dormant bank accounts. In some states, no effort will be made to contact you when your property is confiscated. And in most states, the seized property permanently become the property of the state government after a certain waiting period has elapsed.

Safe deposit boxes inside the vaults of a Swis...
Safe deposit boxes inside the vaults of a Swiss bank. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In Australia for example, the time period required before the federal government could seize a dormant bank account was reduced from seven to three years, and this resulted in an unprecedented windfall for the Australian government over the past 12 months...

    The federal government has seized a record $360 million from household bank accounts that have been dormant for just three years, prompting outrage in some quarters amid complaints that pensioners and retirees have lost deposits.

    Figures from the Australian Security and Investments Commission (ASIC) show almost $360 million was collected from 80,000 inactive accounts in the year to May under new rules introduced by Labor. The new rules lowered the threshold at which the government is allowed to snatch funds from accounts that remain idle from seven years to three years.

For instance, the waiting period in the state of California used to be fifteen years.

    The State acquires unclaimed property through California's Unclaimed Property Law, which requires "holders" such as corporations, business associations, financial institutions, and insurance companies to annually report and deliver property to the Controller's Office after there has been no customer contact for three years.

And it is not just bank accounts and safe deposit boxes that are covered by California law.

    Mineral interests and royalty payments, trust funds, and escrow accounts.

And when a state government grabs your property, the consequences can be absolutely devastating.

    "They are zealously uncovering accounts that are not unclaimed," Ruff said.

And some states are even more aggressive than the state of California in going after bank accounts.

In a recent article, Simon Black noted that the state of Georgia can go after "dormant bank accounts" after just one year of inactivity...

    In fact, each of the 50 states has its own regulations pertaining to the seizure of dormant accounts.

As economic conditions get even worse, the temptation for governments all over the planet to grab private bank accounts is going to become even greater.

And our bank accounts may be one of the first things that they decide to confiscate.

So please don't keep all of your eggs in one basket, and check on all of your accounts in regular intervals.  -
Australia Seizes 360M From Dormant Bank Accounts And All 50 U.S. States Are Doing This Too