Unclaimed property can be any financial asset that has been abandoned by its owner for a period of time specified by law. Common types of unclaimed property include:
The courts have long maintained the states' rights are derivative of the missing owner. In other words, the state stands in the shoes of the missing owner.
The State Treasurer's office maintains custody until the rightful owner or his or her heirs claims the money. At no time is an owner (or legal heirs) barred from claiming unclaimed property.
Per Iowa Code, Chapter 556, all agreements to pay compensation to recover or assist in the recovery of unclaimed property reported under Iowa Law, made within twenty-four (24) months after the date payment or delivery to the State Treasurer, are unenforceable.
Per Iowa Code, Chapter 556, agreements made after twenty-four months from the date of payment or delivery are only valid if the fee for such services is not more than 15% of the value of the recoverable property, and the agreement:
Per Iowa Code, Chapter 556, A person shall not attempt to collect or collect a fee or compensation for discovering property presumed abandoned under this chapter unless the person is licensed as a private investigation business pursuant to Chapter 80A.
Per Iowa Code, Chapter 714.8(16), a person is guilty of a fraudulent practice if they knowingly provide false information to the treasurer of state when claiming an interest in unclaimed property held by the state or knowingly provide false information to a person or fail to disclose the nature, value, and location of unclaimed property prior to entering into a contract to receive compensation to recover or assist in the recovery of property reported as unclaimed pursuant to section 556.11.
Per Iowa Administrative Rule 781- 9.14 (2), A claim form signed by a finder shall not be reviewed by the division. The apparent owner or owner's legal representative shall make direct contact with the division and sign the claim form. All communication regarding the claim will be sent to the claimant. A signed, dated and notarized copy of any agreement or contract between a finder and an owner shall be included with the filing of any claim. Handwritten agreements or contracts will not be accepted.
Each state has an unclaimed property division. The National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA) maintains a web site with information regarding each state.