Skip to main content

Understanding Dormant & Escheatment Accounts

Understanding Dormant & Escheatment Accounts

Understanding Dormant and Escheatment Accounts

We understand that accounts may go unused for many different reasons. You may have moved, forgotten you have an account with us, or maybe a family member had opened an account for you and you had no idea. While we hope you continue to use our services, we want you to be aware of how your Gerber FCU account can go dormant. Keep reading for more information on dormant accounts.

What Is a Dormant Account?

At Gerber FCU, a share account that has not had a member-initiated transaction performed in the past 12 months is considered to be a dormant account. Remember, system-generated activities like certificate renewals or the posting of dividends don’t count. A “transaction” is an activity initiated by the member such as a payment, deposit, withdrawal, or transfer. After no member-initiated activity for one year, the account will be subject to Gerber FCU's inactive account fee of $3.00, which will be charged every six-months. Access our fee schedule here.

Gerber FCU accounts that can become dormant include: Savings, Super Savings, Checking, Super Checking, Christmas Club, Share Certificates (CDs) and IRA Share Accounts. IRA’s which are not yet in the mandatory distribution period are exempt from escheatment.

What is Escheatment?

Escheat refers to the right of a government to take ownership of estate assets or unclaimed property. Escheatment state laws require financial institutions to transfer unclaimed property from dormant accounts to the general fund of a state for safekeeping. The state (or District) then takes over record-keeping and the returning of lost or forgotten property to owners or their heirs if the owner has passed away. The main intent behind these rules is to reduce the risk of fraudulent transactions in what are essentially ignored savings accounts.

Each state has its own rules and regulations governing escheat rights. At Gerber FCU, share accounts that have been dormant for 3 years are transferred to the state listed in the member’s address to comply with Michigan law.

At Gerber FCU, we take exhaustive measures to contact our members prior to sending accounts to the state. This makes it essential to have updated addresses and phone numbers on your account(s). If no response is received, the funds will be turned over to the member's state on file for safekeeping. The good news is a statute of limitations does not usually apply to dormant accounts, meaning the owner may demand funds at any time.

How to Reclaim Property

Owners can gain back unclaimed property by filing an application with their state at no cost or for a nominal handling fee. Unfortunately, the Credit Union cannot assist members in reclaiming escheated accounts. Each state has its own requirements for finding and claiming unclaimed property. Members must work with their state directly to reclaim their funds.

If you believe you have unclaimed property, the state will require you to send them information about yourself to verify your ownership of the unclaimed property.  After verifying your ownership, the state will either mail you a claim form or permit you to fill out the form online and print it for submission to the state.

There are several websites, including commercial sites, where you can search for unclaimed property. The site for Michigan is The claims process is usually relatively simple so give careful consideration before agreeing to compensate anyone for handling it for you.

What Can You Do to Prevent a Dormant Account?

  • Keep your accounts active by making at least one deposit, withdrawal or transfer from your account per year;
  • Set up a Direct Deposit;
  • Use your ATM/Debit or Credit Cards;
  • Keep an accurate record of all financial transactions;
  • Notify Gerber FCU of a new address when moving;
  • Promptly cash all checks received;
  • Inform a family member, attorney, or trusted friend of the whereabouts of personal financial records.

We value your membership and encourage you to take advantage of the many services Gerber FCU can provide you. If you have any questions about the dormant or escheatment account process, please contact Member Service at (231) 924-4880 and choose option 2.

Published: May 24, 2021, United States Senate Federal Credit Union,