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The Florida Statutes

The 2021 Florida Statutes

Title XL
REAL AND PERSONAL PROPERTY
Chapter 717
DISPOSITION OF UNCLAIMED PROPERTY
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F.S. 717.124
717.124 Unclaimed property claims.
(1) Any person, excluding another state, claiming an interest in any property paid or delivered to the department under this chapter may file with the department a claim on a form prescribed by the department and verified by the claimant or the claimant’s representative. The claimant’s representative must be an attorney licensed to practice law in this state, a licensed Florida-certified public accountant, or a private investigator licensed under chapter 493. The claimant’s representative must be registered with the department under this chapter. The claimant, or the claimant’s representative, shall provide the department with a legible copy of a valid driver license of the claimant at the time the original claim form is filed. If the claimant has not been issued a valid driver license at the time the original claim form is filed, the department shall be provided with a legible copy of a photographic identification of the claimant issued by the United States, a state or territory of the United States, a foreign nation, or a political subdivision or agency thereof or other evidence deemed acceptable by the department by rule. In lieu of photographic identification, a notarized sworn statement by the claimant may be provided which affirms the claimant’s identity and states the claimant’s full name and address. The claimant must produce to the notary photographic identification of the claimant issued by the United States, a state or territory of the United States, a foreign nation, or a political subdivision or agency thereof or other evidence deemed acceptable by the department by rule. The notary shall indicate the notary’s full address on the notarized sworn statement. Any claim filed without the required identification or the sworn statement with the original claim form and the original Unclaimed Property Recovery Agreement or Unclaimed Property Purchase Agreement, if applicable, is void.
(a) Within 90 days after receipt of a claim, the department may return any claim that provides for the receipt of fees and costs greater than that permitted under this chapter or that contains any apparent errors or omissions. The department may also request that the claimant or the claimant’s representative provide additional information. The department shall retain a copy or electronic image of the claim.
(b) A claim is considered to have been withdrawn by a claimant or the claimant’s representative if the department does not receive a response to its request for additional information within 60 days after the notification of any apparent errors or omissions.
(c) Within 90 days after receipt of the claim, or the response of the claimant or the claimant’s representative to the department’s request for additional information, whichever is later, the department shall determine each claim. Such determination shall contain a notice of rights provided by ss. 120.569 and 120.57. The 90-day period shall be extended by 60 days if the department has good cause to need additional time or if the unclaimed property:
1. Is owned by a person who has been a debtor in bankruptcy;
2. Was reported with an address outside of the United States;
3. Is being claimed by a person outside of the United States; or
4. Contains documents filed in support of the claim that are not in the English language and have not been accompanied by an English language translation.
(2) A claim for a cashier’s check or a stock certificate without the original instrument may require an indemnity bond equal to the value of the claim to be provided prior to issue of the stock or payment of the claim by the department.
(3) The department may require an affidavit swearing to the authenticity of the claim, lack of documentation, and an agreement to allow the department to provide the name and address of the claimant to subsequent claimants coming forward with substantiated proof to claim the account. This shall apply to claims equal to or less than $250. The exclusive remedy of a subsequent claimant to the property shall be against the person who received the property from the department.
(4)(a) Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, if a claim is determined in favor of the claimant, the department shall deliver or pay over to the claimant the property or the amount the department actually received or the proceeds if it has been sold by the department, together with any additional amount required by s. 717.121.
(b) If an owner authorizes an attorney licensed to practice law in this state, a Florida-certified public accountant, or a private investigator licensed under chapter 493, and registered with the department under this chapter, to claim the unclaimed property on the owner’s behalf, the department is authorized to make distribution of the property or money in accordance with the Unclaimed Property Recovery Agreement or Unclaimed Property Purchase Agreement under s. 717.135. The original Unclaimed Property Recovery Agreement or Unclaimed Property Purchase Agreement must be executed by the claimant or seller and must be filed with the department.
(c)1. Payments of approved claims for unclaimed cash accounts must be made to the owner after deducting any fees and costs authorized by the claimant under an Unclaimed Property Recovery Agreement. The contents of a safe-deposit box must be delivered directly to the claimant.
2. Payments of fees and costs authorized under an Unclaimed Property Recovery Agreement for approved claims must be made or issued to the law firm of the designated attorney licensed to practice law in this state, the public accountancy firm of the licensed Florida-certified public accountant, or the designated employing private investigative agency licensed by this state. Such payments shall be made by electronic funds transfer and may be made on such periodic schedule as the department may define by rule, provided the payment intervals do not exceed 31 days. Payment made to an attorney licensed in this state, a Florida-certified public accountant, or a private investigator licensed under chapter 493, operating individually or as a sole practitioner, must be to the attorney, certified public accountant, or private investigator.
(5) The department shall not be administratively, civilly, or criminally liable for any property or funds distributed pursuant to this section, provided such distribution is made in good faith.
(6) This section does not supersede the licensing requirements of chapter 493.
(7) The department may allow an apparent owner to electronically submit a claim for unclaimed property to the department. If a claim is submitted electronically for $2,000 or less, the department may use a method of identity verification other than a copy of a valid driver license, other government-issued photographic identification, or a sworn notarized statement. The department may adopt rules to implement this subsection.
(8) Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, the department may develop and implement an identification verification and disbursement process by which an account valued at $2,000 or less, after being received by the department and added to the unclaimed property database, may be disbursed to an apparent owner after the department has verified that the apparent owner is living and that the apparent owner’s current address is correct. The department shall include with the payment a notification and explanation of the dollar amount, the source, and the property type of each account included in the disbursement. The department shall adopt rules to implement this subsection.
(9)(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, the department may develop and implement a verification and disbursement process by which an account, after being received by the department and added to the unclaimed property database, for which the apparent owner entity is:
1. A state agency in this state or a subdivision or successor agency thereof;
2. A county government in this state or a subdivision thereof;
3. A public school district in this state or a subdivision thereof;
4. A municipality in this state or a subdivision thereof; or
5. A special taxing district or authority in this state,

may be disbursed to the apparent owner entity or successor entity. The department shall include with the payment a notification and explanation of the dollar amount, the source, and the property type of each account included in the disbursement.

(b) The department may adopt rules to implement this subsection.
(10) Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, the department may develop a process by which a claimant’s representative or a buyer of unclaimed property may electronically submit to the department an electronic image of a completed claim and claims-related documents under this chapter, including an Unclaimed Property Recovery Agreement or Unclaimed Property Purchase Agreement that has been signed and dated by a claimant or seller under s. 717.135, after the claimant’s representative or the buyer of unclaimed property receives the original documents provided by the claimant or the seller for any claim. Each claim filed by a claimant’s representative or a buyer of unclaimed property must include a statement by the claimant’s representative or the buyer of unclaimed property attesting that all documents are true copies of the original documents and that all original documents are physically in the possession of the claimant’s representative or the buyer of unclaimed property. All original documents must be kept in the original form, by claim number, under the secure control of the claimant’s representative or the buyer of unclaimed property and must be available for inspection by the department in accordance with s. 717.1315. The department may adopt rules to implement this subsection.
(11) This section applies to all unclaimed property reported and remitted to the Chief Financial Officer, including, but not limited to, property reported pursuant to ss. 45.032, 732.107, 733.816, and 744.534.
History.s. 25, ch. 87-105; s. 3, ch. 89-291; s. 8, ch. 89-299; s. 4, ch. 90-113; s. 14, ch. 96-301; s. 295, ch. 96-410; s. 31, ch. 97-93; s. 1772, ch. 97-102; s. 23, ch. 2001-36; s. 121, ch. 2004-390; s. 8, ch. 2005-163; s. 1, ch. 2013-34; s. 9, ch. 2018-71; s. 34, ch. 2019-140; s. 2, ch. 2021-144.