How does it work and how to search?

Here you will find the answers.

Losing contact with a customer is something that can happen at any bank anywhere in the world. A search can be conducted at any time once assets have become without contact – it is not necessary that the 60 years have passed. Since the assets, subject to bank-client confidentiality, an inquiry may only be with proof of entitlement. For such a search to be conducted, the claimant must submit documents of the bank that substantiate entitlement to the assets. This ensures that only those individuals who are in fact entitled to the assets, receive the assets in question.

The new regulation provides for the transfer of assets that have been without contact from 10 to 60 years or more to the government. Publication on the internet for a period of one year gives customers and their legal heirs another opportunity to assert their claims to dormant assets before these are transferred to the government. For older assets with the last customer contact dating back to 1954 or earlier, the period for asserting claims is five years from the time of publication.

Each bank is responsible for handling the dormant assets it holds. New names can be added at any time; names for which an authorised individual has been identified and names linked to assets for which transfer to the government is pending are deleted. As a result, the number of names fluctuates constantly; there is no regular collection of data to this end.

According to the guidelines the banks must publish assets that have been without contact from 10 to 60 years at least once annually. According to the law and the ordinance, the banks are free to decide in terms of the timing of publication.

The bank liquidates the assets within 2 years after the deadline for placing a claim if no authorised individual has come forward.

If a claim to dormant assets is asserted, the relevant documentation substantiating the claim must be submitted (e.g. passport, certificate of inheritance). These documents are forwarded directly to the bank in question. The bank then verifies the claim to dormant assets according to the relevant legal and contractual provisions as applicable to each individual case. For legal persons registered in the commercial register, a certificate of registration is required. If no such registration exists, then the articles of association, deed of foundation or an equivalent document mus

Following the transfer of assets, the legitimate claimant can no longer lay claim to the assets. These assets can be claimed from 10 to 60 years after the time of last contact up until the transfer to the government. Once they have been liquidated, claims by legitimate persons become null and void.

Thanks to publishing, since May 2023, an authorized individual has been found for around every twentieth dormant account that has been dormant for several decades.

What you need before you start

Remember that an account opened many years ago may not have been in your current married name.

Accounts opened by parents and grandparents on your behalf may be jointly in their names; where relevant, they may also be in your maiden name.

If you’re still not sure what action to take, you may find it helpful to look at our FAQs before you start your search.

Start now and find your lost patrimony

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