Escheat estates and absentee distributees
The following information explains the notification requirements and other procedural information related to escheat estates and absentee distributees and provides current lists of the same.
What is an escheat estate?
Escheat of an estate means that a person dies without a will, whether a resident of this state or not, leaving property subject to the jurisdiction of this state without being survived by any person entitled to the property under RCW 11.04.015
The Department must be promptly notified in writing as of the potential escheat as outlined in WAC 458-57-165.
What is an absentee distributee?
An absentee distributee is any person who is a beneficiary of a will or a trust that has not been located. If a personal representative cannot locate a beneficiary of a will or trust the personal representative is required to follow the procedures outlined in RCW 11.76.200 through 11.76.230.
Frequently asked questions about Escheat Estates
Who qualifies as a legal heir?
Per RCW 11.04.015, a legal heir includes any blood descendant of a decedent's grandparents.
Are escheat estates different from unclaimed property?
Yes, unclaimed property refers to property being held by an organization that has had no contact with the owner for an extended period of time and there is no knowledge of the person's death. Property is usually considered unclaimed after three years, when it is turned over to the state of Washington. Banks, retailers, credit unions, utilities, corporations, insurance companies, and governmental entities are some of the many sources of unclaimed property.
For unclaimed property reporting and claims, go to www.ucp.dor.wa.gov.
How do I report a potential escheat?
File the Notice of Escheat Estate Form.
If you have questions, call us at (360) 534-1503, option 7.