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I rented a safe deposit box in 1982, but lost track of it. Now the bank cannot locate the records or contents. How can I find out what happened to my property?

If you did not pay the annual fee on the safe deposit box, it likely would have been considered dormant once there was no activity—such as payment of the fee—for three to five years. The length of time necessary to declare a box dormant is defined by state statute.

If the property remains unclaimed and is classified as abandoned, the bank may be required to transfer the contents of the safe deposit box to the state treasurer or unclaimed-property office in a process called escheat. Some states require the bank to attempt to notify the property owner before they transfer the property to the state.

If you wish to find out if property from your safe deposit box was sent to the state treasurer, contact your applicable state treasurer/unclaimed-property office. You can also start your search by visiting National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators or your state’s unclaimed-property office.

Last Reviewed: October 2020

Please note: The terms "bank" and "banks" used in these answers generally refer to national banks, federal savings associations, and federal branches or agencies of foreign banking organizations that are regulated by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). Find out if the OCC regulates your bank. Information provided on HelpWithMyBank.gov should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion of the OCC.

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