Contrary to what we would assume about a small country that Israel is, it has tens of thousands of unclaimed bank accounts and property that are classified as abandoned. An abandoned property or asset has no known owners or heirs.
The Israel government maintains a separate department for managing abandoned property. The unit for Location and restitution of unclaimed property handles all the tasks associated with locating and maintaining abandoned property, as well as finding out the heirs.
What Are The Functions Of Unit For Location And Restitution Of Abandoned Property?
The functions of the Unit For Location And Restitution Of Abandoned Property include:
- Locating the abandoned assets
- Managing the unclaimed assets on behalf of their private owners
- Releasing of the assets to the owners or transferring them to state property
Notifying About Abandoned Property
According to Section 5 of the Administrator General Law, a person holding abandoned property or a property he/she presumes to be abandoned or a pubic officer who comes to know about an abandoned property has to inform this to the Administrator General and provide all the details they know about the asset.
Here are some cases when a property will be suspected abandoned
- A person who died childless by leaving the property, and has no known heirs
- Property that belongs to someone outside Israel and whose fate is unknown( the case of Holocaust victims is an exception)
- Property where all contact with owners has been lost.
- Property with unknown ownership.
Finding Out The Owners Of Abandoned Property
The department for the location of abandoned property operates on the national level and is involved in the tasks associated with finding out the owners of abandoned property on dealing with reports about them. The actions of the department are not always enough to get the details of the property owner. In some cases, the owner of an abandoned estate in Israel or his/her successors will have to apply to receive the property.
The Administrator General regularly publishes the list of absentees whose property is managed by them. If the members of the public find a property entitled to them in that list, they can apply to release the property.
In case the Administrator General fails to find out the property owners, he/she petitions the court by requesting for an Administration Order. If only small sums are involved, an order is not required.