Unclaimed funds are funds held by the court for an owner or recipient who is entitled to the money, but who has failed to claim ownership of it. The U.S. Courts, as custodians of such funds, have established policies and procedures for holding, safeguarding and accounting for such funds. If a valid claim is eventually made against the funds, they are disbursed from a Treasury deposit or registry fund account.
Trustee's Unclaimed Dividends
Unclaimed dividends arise when dividends (assets) are distributed by the trustee to creditors pursuant to settlement of a bankruptcy case, but the property goes unclaimed, or the check is not negotiated. According to 11 U.S.C. section 347(a), 90 days after the final distribution of assets has been made, any unclaimed property of the estate or dividend checks that have not been negotiated are then paid into the court.
Petitioning for Unclaimed Funds
According to 28 U.S.C. section 2042, any claimant entitled to unclaimed funds may petition the court. Upon notice to the U.S. Attorney and full proof of the right to such funds, the claimant may obtain an order directing disbursement of the funds to the claimant.
In the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Ohio, the claimant’s motion must be completed in accordance with the Local Bankruptcy Rules regarding motions, and shall include the following information:
- full name and address of the claimant
- amount due
- supportive documentation, e.g., an affidavit and power of attorney, if the claim was assigned.
A form Motion for Payment of Unclaimed Funds (PDF writable) that complies with our Local Bankruptcy Rules has been prepared by the Southern District of Ohio. While the use of this form motion is not required, parties requesting the release of unclaimed funds are strongly encouraged to use the form to ensure Local Rule compliance. An order should not accompany your motion as the court will enter its own standard order.
Effective August 1, 2015, before any unclaimed funds can be disbursed, the claimant must complete and submit an IRS Form W-9 Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification (owner of the funds SSN or Tax Identification Number). The completed form must be filed with the court. If the claimant is filing electronically, it should NOT be attached to the motion; it should only be filed using the Request for Taxpayer Identification Number filing event.
Additionally, if a previously filed motion must be amended, and you are an electronic filer, it is important that you file your amended motion using the Amended Motion for Unclaimed Funds filing event in CM/ECF. Using the Amended Motion for Unclaimed Funds event will help ensure accurate processing of your motion.
Courts are occasionally contacted by finders who suggest that they have information on the parties to whom funds processed through the court belong. In addition to the requirements set forth above, when funds locators petition the court for the right to unclaimed funds, they must also provide the following documentation:
- proper authority by the signer or claimant requesting release of the funds
- photocopy of photo identification such as driver's license or passport
- letter of administration or probated will (if applicable)
- corporate documents (if applicable) showing proof of ownership of the funds through amendment, merger, or
Motion for Payment of Unclaimed Funds (PDF writable)
Unclaimed Funds Creditor Search
To search for unclaimed funds, please visit the United States Bankruptcy Unclaimed Funds Locator.