The Dormant Accounts Act 2001 together with the Unclaimed Life Assurance Policies Act 2003 and the Dormant Accounts (Amendment) Acts 2005 to 2012 provide a framework for the administration of unclaimed accounts in credit institutions (i.e. banks, building societies and An Post) and unclaimed life assurance policies in insurance undertakings. The main purpose of the legislation is to reunite account holders/policy holders with their funds in credit institutions/insurance undertakings and in this regard, institutions/undertakings are required to take steps to identify and contact the owners of dormant accounts and unclaimed life assurance policies.
Dormant funds/unclaimed life assurance policies, which have not been reclaimed by the original account/policy holder or their beneficiaries, are transferred each year by the financial institution/insurance undertaking to the Dormant Accounts Fund (the Fund) which is managed by the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA). The transfer of monies takes place on the basis that the beneficial owner will have a guaranteed right of reclaim to their property at any time in the future.
The legislation also introduced a scheme for the disbursement of funds that are unlikely to be reclaimed. Initially the Dormant Accounts Fund Disbursements Board was responsible for overseeing the disbursement of these monies from the Fund. Pursuant to the enactment of the Dormant Accounts (Amendment) Act 2005, decisions on disbursements became the responsibility of Government. The Dormant Accounts (Amendment) Act 2012 dissolved the Dormant Accounts Board and transferred the statutory functions of the Dormant Accounts Board to the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht.