David R. Henderson  

Escheat: It's Not You, It's Me

Questions Worth Answering... Discipline: Advice and Evidenc...

That's close to what I said to the E*Trade guy when I called up this morning to close my account. See my previous post, "You're Not a Frequent Trader? We'll Take Your Stuff," for why I wanted to close the account. I sold my last two stocks this morning and then called to close the account and get a check. The E*Trade guy said he would do that but, "Can I ask you whether there's something E*Trade is doing that has dissatisfied you?" or words to that effect. Then my answer: "It's not anything E*Trade is doing; it's what the state government is doing. I appreciate what E*Trade did by warning me that the state government was ready to take my assets."

He knew exactly what I was talking about and referred, as did commenter Ted [thanks, Ted, for the explanation], explicitly to the term "escheat."

What a great term, by the way. And since we're talking State government here, I suggest that we use the term "S-cheat."

BTW, after talking to him, I decided not to close the account. And I should have sold those shares long ago, and especially by December 31, anyway.

Comments and Sharing

CATEGORIES: Property Rights

COMMENTS (5 to date)
mdb writes:

At least in CA they warned you. I left money in a bank in RI, I only found out the state confiscated it when my named appeared on one of ownerless assets ads the state publishes every couple of months. I had file the proper paperwork to get my money back to re-deposit in the bank. I lost like 6 months interest.

floccina writes:

And you know selling creates a taxable event, grrrr!

Veste X writes:

The fact that escheating still exists is very frustrating. Property law, in general, is still in the course of a very slow transition from a feudal system. Personally, I would like to have an allodial title to my land, but instead the best I can do is fee simple absolute, which is really just a title at the whim of the sovereign.

I think that if more people understood this, the system would change more rapidly.

quadrupole writes:

So does the states obligation to pay back the money they stole from you come before or after in priority their obligation to pay state worker retirement benefits... That question could soon be quite germane...

David R. Henderson writes:


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