2005 North Carolina Code - General Statutes Article 1 - Escheats.

Chapter 116B.

Escheats and Abandoned Property.

Article 1.

Escheats.

§ 116B‑1. Escheats to Escheat Fund.

All real estate which has accrued to the State since June 30, 1971, or shall hereafter accrue from escheats, shall be vested in the Escheat Fund. Title to any such real property which has escheated to the Escheat Fund shall be conveyed by deed in the manner now provided by G.S. 146‑74 through G.S. 146‑78, except as is otherwise provided herein: Provided, that in any action in the superior court of North Carolina wherein the State Treasurer is a party, and wherein said court enters a judgment of escheat for any real property, then, upon petition of the State Treasurer in said action, said court shall have the authority to appoint the State Treasurer or his designated agent as a commissioner for the purpose of selling said real property at a public sale, for cash, at the courthouse door in the county in which the property is located, after properly advertising the sale according to law. The said commissioner, when appointed by the court, shall have the right to convey a valid title to the purchaser of the property at public sale. The funds derived from the sale of any such escheated real property by the commissioner so appointed shall thereafter be paid by him into the Escheat Fund. (Const., art. 9, s. 7; 1789, c. 306, s. 2; P.R.; R.C., c. 113, s. 11; Code, s. 2626; Rev., s. 4282; C.S., s. 5784; 1947, c. 494; 1961, c. 257; 1971, c. 1135, s. 2; 1979, 2nd Sess., c. 1311, s. 1.)

 

§ 116B‑2. Unclaimed real and personal property escheats to the Escheat Fund.

Whenever the owner of any real or personal property situated or located within this State dies intestate, or dies testate but did not dispose of all real or personal property by will, without leaving surviving any heirs, as defined in G.S. 29‑2(3), to inherit said property under the laws of this State, such real and personal property shall escheat. The State Treasurer shall have the right to institute a civil action in the superior court of any county in which such real or personal property is situated, against any administrator, executor, and unknown heirs or unknown claimants as party defendants, which unknown heirs or unknown claimants may be served with summons and notice of such action by publication as is now provided by the laws of this State. If an administrator or executor has been appointed, he shall make a determination that there are no known heirs or unknown claimants and shall inform the State Treasurer of that determination. The superior court in which such civil action is instituted shall have the authority to enter a judgment therein declaring the real and personal property unclaimed as having escheated, and the real property may be sold according to the provisions of G.S. 116B‑1. A default final judgment may be entered by the clerk of the superior court in such cases when no answer is filed by the administrator, executor, unknown heirs or unknown claimants to the complaint, or if any answer is filed, the allegations of the complaint are either admitted or not denied by such party defendants, and no claim is made in the answer to the property left by said deceased person. The funds derived from such sale shall be paid into the Escheat Fund where said funds, together with all other escheated funds, shall be held without liability for profit or interest, subject to any just claims therefor. (1957, c. 1105, s. 1; 1971, c. 1135, s. 2; 1979, 2nd Sess., c. 1311, s. 1.)

 

§ 116B‑3. Unclaimed personalty on settlements of decedents' estates to the Escheat Fund.

All sums of money or other personal estate of whatever kind which shall remain in the hands of any administrator, executor, administrator c.t.a., or personal representative when the administration of an estate of a person dying intestate, or partially intestate, without leaving any known heirs to inherit same, is ready to be closed, unrecovered or unclaimed by suit, by creditors, heirs, or others entitled thereto, shall, prior to the closing of the administration of the estate, be paid or delivered by such administrator or executor to the State Treasurer as an escheat and shall be included in the disbursements in the final account of such estate. In such cases as above described, the State Treasurer is authorized to demand, sue for, recover, and collect such unclaimed moneys or other personal estate of whatever kind from any administrator or executor after the estate is ready to be closed, or from the clerk of the superior court if the unclaimed assets have been paid over to him, and the State Treasurer shall hold the same without liability for profit or interest, subject to any just claims therefor. The provisions of this section and G.S. 116B‑2 shall apply to the estate of a person missing for 30 days or more and the State Treasurer may bring an action to have a receiver appointed in such case under the provisions of Chapter 28C, Estates of Missing Persons. (1957, c. 1105, ss. 2, 2 1/2; 1971, c. 1135, s. 2; 1979, 2nd Sess., c. 1311, s. 1; 1981, c. 531, s. 1.)

 

§ 116B‑4. Claim for escheated property.

Any escheated property or proceeds from the sale of escheated property held by the Escheat Fund pursuant to G.S. 116B‑5 may be claimed by an heir of the decedent or by a creditor of the decedent who is not barred from presenting a claim under the provisions of Article 19 of Chapter 28A of the General Statutes. The provisions of G.S. 116B‑67(a), (c), (d), and (e) and G.S. 116B‑68 shall apply to a claim under this section. (1979, 2nd Sess., c. 1311, s. 1; 1999‑460, s. 1.)

 

§ 116B‑5. Escheat Fund.

All property escheated or abandoned under the provisions of this Chapter and all property escheated or abandoned since June 30, 1971, under the provisions of former Chapter 116A, as amended, shall be paid into a fund to be administered by the Treasurer, which fund shall be designated the Escheat Fund. No escheated or abandoned property heretofore paid or delivered to the University of North Carolina pursuant to any constitutional provision or statute of this State shall be subject to the provisions of this Chapter. (1979, 2nd Sess., c. 1311, s. 1; 1999‑460, s. 3(b).)

 

§ 116B‑6. Administration of Escheat Fund; Escheat Account.

(a) Escheat Account. All funds received by the Treasurer as escheated or abandoned property and which were transferred prior to January 1, 1980, to the trust fund created under G.S. 116‑209 shall remain in that trust fund and shall be placed in a special fund, designated the "Escheat Account."

(b) Investment and Transfer of Assets; Income. The Treasurer is the trustee of the Escheat Account and has full power to invest and reinvest the assets of the Escheat Account and the Escheat Fund. Subject to the Treasurer's withholding an amount necessary to accomplish the Treasurer's duties as set out in this Chapter, including subsections (e), (f) and (g) of this section, the Treasurer shall transfer, at least annually, to the Escheat Account all moneys then in the Treasurer's custody received as, or derived from the disposition of, escheated and abandoned property and shall disburse to the State Education Assistance Authority, as provided in G.S. 116B‑7, the income derived from the investment of the Escheat Account and the Escheat Fund. All moneys transferred to the Escheat Account under this section shall be accounted for and administered separately from other assets and money in the trust fund created under G.S. 116‑209.

(c) Security Interest in Escheat Account. The State Education Assistance Authority, in addition to other powers vested under G.S. 116‑201 to G.S. 116‑209.23, inclusive, is authorized to pledge and vest a security interest in all or any part of the Escheat Account, by resolution adopted or trust agreement approved by it, as security for or insurance respecting the payment of bonds or other obligations, as defined in G.S. 116‑201, including principal, interest and redemption premium, if any; provided, that such pledge and security interest in the Escheat Account shall, in the determination of the Authority, constitute a use of the Escheat Fund to aid worthy and needy students who are residents of this State and are enrolled in public institutions of higher education in this State. The Authority may submit to the Treasurer, from time to time as it deems necessary, requisitions for transfers of money in the Escheat Account to pay such bonds and other obligations to the extent necessary under such pledge of, or security interest in, the Escheat Account, or any part thereof, and the Treasurer is authorized and directed to pay such money so requisitioned to the Authority for such purposes.

(d) Limitation on Amount of Obligations Secured. The principal amount of bonds and other obligations insured or secured by the Escheat Account shall not exceed 10 times the amount held for the credit of the Escheat Account, as certified from time to time by the Treasurer, and, in no event, shall exceed three hundred fifty million dollars ($350,000,000). If the amount held for the credit of the Escheat Account, as certified by the Treasurer, shall be ten percent (10%) or less of the principal amount of the bonds and other obligations so insured or secured, the Authority shall not issue any additional bonds or cause additional obligations to be insured or secured by the Escheat Account until such time as the amount held for the credit of the Escheat Account exceeds ten percent (10%) of the principal amount of the bonds and other obligations secured or insured by the Escheat Account.

(e) Use of Excess Funds. If the amount held for the credit of the Escheat Account at any time shall exceed the sum of thirty‑five million dollars ($35,000,000), such excess may be used by the State Education Assistance Authority, with the written approval of the Treasurer, for the purpose of either (i) making student loans or (ii) refunding outstanding bonds or other obligations issued by the Authority and secured by a pledge of, or a security interest in, the Escheat Account. Any excess so used shall be repaid by the Authority to the Escheat Account in the manner agreed between the Authority and the Treasurer.

(f) Refund Reserve. The Treasurer shall retain in the Escheat Fund, as a permanent refund reserve, either the sum of five million dollars ($5,000,000) or a sum equal to the total value of escheated or abandoned property received in the preceding fiscal year, whichever is greater, for the purpose of payment of refunds of escheated or abandoned property to persons entitled thereto.

(g) Additional Funds for Refunds. If at any time the amount of the refund reserve shall be insufficient to make refunds required to be made, the Treasurer, in addition, may use all current receipts derived from escheated or abandoned property, exclusive of earnings and profits on investments of the Escheat Fund and the Escheat Account, for the purpose of making such refunds; and if all such funds shall be inadequate for such refunds, the Treasurer may apply to the Council of State, pursuant to the Executive Budget Act, to the limit of funds available from the Contingency and Emergency Fund, for a loan, without interest, to supply any deficiencies, in whole or in part. No receipts derived from escheated or abandoned property, other than earnings or profits on investments, shall be paid to the Authority until: (i) all valid claims for refund have been paid; (ii) the reserve for refund shall equal five million dollars ($5,000,000); and (iii) the amount loaned from the Contingency and Emergency Fund shall have been repaid by the Escheat Fund.

(h) Expenditures. The Treasurer may expend the funds in the Escheat Fund, other than funds in the Escheat Account, for the payment of claims for refunds to owners, holders and claimants under G.S. 116B‑4; for the payment of costs of maintenance and upkeep of abandoned or escheated property; costs of preparing lists of names of owners of abandoned property to be furnished to clerks of superior court; costs of notice and publication; costs of appraisals; fees of persons employed pursuant to G.S. 116B‑8 costs involved in determining whether a decedent died without heirs; costs of a title search of real property that has escheated; and costs of auction or sale under this Chapter. All other costs, including salaries of personnel, necessary to carry out the duties of the Treasurer under this Chapter, shall be appropriated from the funds of the Escheat Fund pursuant to the provisions of Article 1, Chapter 143 of the General Statutes.

(i) Records. Before making a deposit to the Escheat Fund, or retaining or destroying property, the Treasurer shall record the name and address of the holder, the name and last known address of each person appearing from the holder's reports to be entitled to the abandoned property, the name and last known address of each insured person or annuitant, the amount or description of the property, and, with respect to each policy or contract listed in the report of an insurer, its number and the name of the corporation. The records shall be available for public inspection at all reasonable business hours. (1979, 2nd Sess., c. 1311, s. 1; 1999‑460, ss. 3(b), 4(a), (b).)

 

§ 116B‑7. Distribution of fund.

(a) The income derived from the investment or deposit of the Escheat Fund shall be distributed annually on or before July 15 to the State Education Assistance Authority for grants and loans to aid worthy and needy students who are residents of this State and are enrolled in public institutions of higher education in this State. Such grants and loans shall be made upon terms, consistent with the provisions of this Chapter, pursuant to which the State Education Assistance Authority makes grants and loans to other students under G.S. 116‑201 to 116‑209.23, Article 23 of Chapter 116 of the General Statutes, policies of the Board of Governors of The University of North Carolina regarding need‑based grants for students of The University of North Carolina, and policies of the State Board of Community Colleges regarding need‑based grants for students of the community colleges.

(b) An amount specified in the Current Operations Appropriations Act shall be transferred annually from the Escheat Fund to the Department of Administration to partially fund the program of Scholarships for Children of War Veterans established by Article 4 of Chapter 165 of the General Statutes. Those funds may be used only for residents of this State who (i) are worthy and needy as determined by the Department of Administration, and (ii) are enrolled in public institutions of higher education of this State. (1979, 2nd Sess., c. 1311, s. 1; 1999‑460, s. 3(b); 2002‑126, s. 9.19(a); 2003‑284, s. 18.5(b).)

 

§ 116B‑8. Employment of persons with specialized skills or knowledge.

The Treasurer may employ the services of such independent consultants, real estate managers and other persons possessing specialized skills or knowledge as the Treasurer deems necessary or appropriate for the administration of this Chapter, including valuation, maintenance, upkeep, management, sale and conveyance of property and determination of sources of unreported abandoned property. The Treasurer may also employ the services of an attorney to perform a title search or to provide an accurate legal description of real property which the Treasurer has reason to believe may have escheated. Persons whose services are employed by the Treasurer pursuant to this section to determine sources and amounts of unreported property are subject to the same policies, including confidentiality and ethics, as employees of the Department of State Treasurer assigned to determine sources and amounts of unreported property. Compensation of persons whose services are employed pursuant to this section on a contingent fee basis shall be limited to twelve percent (12%) of the final assessment. (1979, 2nd Sess., c. 1311, s. 1; 1999‑460, ss. 3(b), 5.)

 

§ 116B‑9. Reserved for future codification purposes.


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