Unclaimed Funds Arising from Bankruptcy Cases

Making a Claim for Unclaimed Funds


A. Establishing the Right to the Funds

A completed Petition for Payment of Unclaimed Funds and either a Corporate Form with Corporate Seal or Individual Form and an IRS W-9 Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification along with a proper certificate of service and notice to the to the United States Attorney, the case trustee, the Office of the United States Trustee and the debtor or debtor’s counsel with full proof of the petitioners’ right to the funds must be filed with the Court when requesting the release of unclaimed money. From the records on file with the Court and the proof provided, the Court will determine the requestor’s right to the funds.

It is essential that the evidence provided to the Court in support of the petitioner’s right to the funds adhere to the following standards:

1. Only original signatures will be accepted on notarized documents and affidavits provided in support of your petition. (Note: /s/ is not accepted, ONLY original signatures are permitted.)

2. Original signatures must be notarized where indicated on the forms. Documents signed and notarized outside the United States, have special requirements. Contact the Embassy of the country of origin (where you are having the document notarized) or the United States Embassy for assistance.

3. A government issued photo ID is required of anyone making a claim for funds from the Court.

4. Any person or entity making a claim for funds with a different name than the creditor name(s) on file with the Court must provide documentation as to the name change.

5. Any person or entity making a claim for funds with a different address than the address on file with the court must provide documentation as to their use of the prior address, (old utility bill, license or tax bill etc.). If such documentation is unavailable, a notarized sworn affidavit as to use of the prior address may be submitted, but the Court, in its discretion, may require additional evidence of prior use of the address.


B. Owners of Record

The person(s) or entity shown in the Court's records as the owner of the funds must provide the Court with a completed Petition for Payment of Unclaimed Funds and the following:

1. Completed Individual or Corporate Form including the notarized signatures of the claimant with the current name, address and telephone number of the claimant;

2. Proof of prior name and proof of the name change (e.g. Verified copy of a Marriage Certificate or other document changing the claimant’s name;)

3. Proof of prior address (e.g., utility bill, license, or other independent document;)

4. The social security or tax identification number of the claimant;

5. A government issued photo ID of the person making the claim; and

6. A completed IRS W-9 Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification.


C. Successor Claimant

A successor business, decedent's estate, assignee, judgment creditor, etc., who now have a direct claim to the funds, but are not listed in the Court as the owner of record, must provide the Court with a completed Petition for Payment of Unclaimed Funds and the following:

1. Successor Business

a. Completed Corporate Form with Corporate Seal;

b. Proof of identify of the owner of record;

c. A notarized power of attorney signed by an officer of the successor business;

d. A government issued photo ID;

e. A statement of the signing officer's authority to collect the funds with government issued photo ID and business card;

f. Documentation establishing chain of ownership from the original business claimant without breaks; and

g. A completed IRS W-9 Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification.


2. Purchased/Transferred/Assigned Claims

a. Proof of identify of the owner of record;

b. Proof of identify of the successor claimant with a government photo ID;

c. Documentation evidencing the transfer of claim or the purchase or sale of the specific assets that includes the claim with the information regarding the claim highlighted In some fashion; and

d. A completed IRS W-9 Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification.

3. Decedent's Estate - (i.e., Administrator, Executor, Representative)

a. Proof of identify of the owner of record;

b. Proof of personal identity of the estate administrator including government issued photo ID;

c. Certified copies of probate documents establishing the representative's right to act on behalf of the decedent's estate; and

d. A completed IRS W-9 Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification.

4. Claimant Representatives – (i.e., attorney or funds locator1 )

a. Proof of identify of the owner of record, as required under subsections (1-3) above;

b. A notarized, original power of attorney signed by the claimant on whose behalf the representative is acting;

c. Proof of identify of the representative;

d. Certified copies of probate documents (letters of administration or probated will) establishing the representative’s right to act on behalf of the decedent’s estate;

e. Certified copy of the decedent’s death certificate;

f. Documentation sufficient to establish the claimant's entitlement to the funds; and

g. A completed IRS W-9 Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification.

1 Funds locators are private enterprises that seek to identify unclaimed funds, locate entities that may have potential claims, make claim to the funds on the behalf of the entities and collect a percentage of the funds recovered as a fee. All claims presented to a Court by a funds locator must also be supported by appropriate documentation. If the Court is satisfied that a funds locator is entitled to receive unclaimed funds as the representative of the owner of the funds, and proper notice has been given, the Court may order that the funds be released under the authority of 28 U.S.C. § 2042. However, regardless of the existence of any authorizing Power of Attorney, the Court is prohibited from issuing a check payable solely to any funds locator. All checks must be issued to the rightful owner but may be sent in care of the funds locator.

5. Additional Business Requirements:

a. Any person or entity making a claim for funds as an officer, past officer or principal of a business entity must provide documentation as to their authority to receive such funds in lieu of any other such officer or principal.

b. Absent evidence of a merger or the notarized consent of the subsidiary by a duly authorized officer of the subsidiary, a parent corporation does not have the authority to collect the receivables of the subsidiary. Please provide notarized proof of your authority to collect.

c. Any person or entity making a claim for funds as the owner of a Massachusetts2 defunct business must provide reliable, verifiable documentation as to their current or past ownership.

Please note that depending upon the circumstances, the Court may request you provide a determination from the state court of proper jurisdiction, as to the proper distribution of the funds amongst the creditors of the corporation or its shareholders.

The Claimant of a defunct Massachusetts business may wish to consider the following3:

i. If the company was dissolved administratively and the timing is within the 3-year wind down period, the petitioner may wish to reinstate the corporation by paying all of the fees and filing the appropriate papers with the Sec. of State's Office. Once the company is reinstated and proof is provided, the Court may proceed to make the payment to the corporation.

ii. If the company was dissolved and the timing is outside of the 3-year period or if the petitioner chooses not to reinstate, they must then seek a Determination of the Distribution of Assets from the Superior Court in the County in which they existed. If however, they are a public charity, they must seek the determination from the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. The determination will decide if the assets go to creditors of the corporation or the shareholders and if the shareholders, which ones and in what percent.

2 Other states may have different requirements. You may wish to consult competent legal assistance.

3 Please note, employees of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court are prohibited from providing legal advice. Should the petitioner need more information about the state court process, we recommend you contact competent legal counsel for assistance.



Submission Address


Submit the completed Petition for Payment of Unclaimed Funds and either the Corporate Form with Corporate Seal or the Individual Form, with an IRS W-9 Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification and a proper certificate of service and notice to the United States Attorney, the case trustee, the Office of the United States Trustee and the debtor or debtor’s counsel along with full proof of the petitioners’ right to the funds to the following address:

United States Bankruptcy Court
J.W. McCormack Post Office and Court House
5 Post Office Square, Suite 1150
Boston, MA 02109-3945


Processing a Claim


Upon receipt of the Petition for Payment of Unclaimed Funds, the petition will be docketed and the originals forwarded to the Finance Department. The Finance Department will review the the petition and supporting documentation for completeness, determine whether the guideline requirements have been satisfied, verify that the requested funds remain on deposit with the Court, and forward the petition and supporting documentation to the Bankruptcy Judge for consideration. Please be advised that it may take some time to process. Should the Finance Department find that the petition is incomplete or the guidelines have not been met, a deficiency notice shall be issued to the claimant and entered on the docket. If the deficiency is not cured within 45 days of the notice, the Court will cease processing the claim.


Questions Regarding a Filed Petition


Questions may be directed to the Court in writing at the address listed above or by calling the Finance Department at 617-748-6614.


Forms


The petitioner must complete and file with the Court the following forms:

  1. Petition for Payment of Unclaimed Funds (Required)
  2. Corporate Form with Corporate Seal (Required by Corporate Claimants)
  3. Individual Form (Required by Individual Claimants)
  4. IRS W-9 Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification (Required)
  5. Proposed Order Approving Payment of Unclaimed Funds (Required)