What are dormant accounts?
According to Italian law, the term, ‘dormant account’ refers to contractual relationships entered into with a bank or other financial institution, consisting in sums of money or financial instruments, that have not been moved by the owner for a period of 10 years and have a total sum higher than €100.
Savings account books, accounts, postal accounts, shares, bonds, government securities that are held on inactive deposits are included in the category of dormant accounts.
Is it true that dormant funds can be transferred into an Italian government fund?
Rules establish that a contractual relationship which has been dormant for 10 years or more with sums equal to at least €100, can be terminated by financial institutions and the sums transferred into a fund, created by the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance, referred to in article 1 paragraph 343 Law 2005 n. 266, for social purposes.
However, before any sum can be devolved into the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance fund, the owners of a dormant account must be notified by the financial institution and owners have a period of 180 days (about 6 months) to reactivate the dormant account by making a transaction or by notifying the financial institution of their wish to continue with the contractual relationship.
Even if sums have been transferred into the fund, the account owner may still claim a refund. Owners of dormant accounts have 10 years in which to claim a refund.
Who is entitled to a refund of transferred funds?
The owners of accounts or their assignees, provided that the ten year statute of limitation has not elapsed, starting from the date of transfer of sums to the fund, or the issuance of a banker’s draft, provided that the ten year limitation period starting from the date of issuance of the banker’s draft has not expired.
How do you get a refund?
First of all, you will have to prove you are the owner or beneficiary of a dormant account. In order to do so, you will need to visit the Consap website. This system will ascertain if a dormant account exists according to the data you provide and permit you to download a refund form, which you will need to fill.
Where you have inherited a dormant account, you will need to provide a self-certification document, which will be verified by Consap.
Owners of dormant accounts should check the Consap website for details or they can send their application to:
Consap S.p.A. – Rif. Rapporti dormienti – via Yser, 14 – 00198 Roma,
or via e-mail to email@example.com
The refund form should be accompanied by the following attachments:
- Copy of identity card or other ID of the applicant entitled to refund
- Copy of fiscal code of the applicant entitled to refund
- If applicable, owner’s death certificate
- Copy of savings passbook or of a bank statement
- If applicable, statement attesting heir’s entitlement and statement of termination of contractual relationship by the financial institution certifying that sums have been transferred into the fund.
After verifying that the conditions for a refund have been fulfilled, Consap will make the payment in favour of the person entitled to the refund, through methods such as a bank transfer or banker’s draft.
What if you have moved or don’t receive bank notification about a dormant account?
You should contact the financial institute you think may hold an account to ascertain if you are in fact the owner of any dormant accounts and, at the same time notify them regarding a change of residence. The notice of change of residence or domicile is sufficient to reactivate a dormant account.
I’ve received a letter from the bank but the account owner has passed away.
It is important to remember that not only the owner of the contract can reactivate the dormant account. In the case of the owner’s death, his/her executors can. If there are no executors, beneficiaries should notify the financial institution that they are entitled to succeed to the deceased’s ownership. A death certificate with the documents necessary for the Italian probate and succession procedure should be presented.
I own more than one dormant account at the same bank. What should I do?
Owners don’t have to reactivate all their dormant accounts. It is possible to reactivate only one account. For example, if there is a dormant current account and a dormant deposit account, reactivating one will keep both active.
If you are uncertain as to what your situation is, it is advisable to contact an Italian lawyer. At De Tullio Law Firm, we have extensive knowledge and experience of Italian and international law. Whatever your legal matter in Italy, Get in touch with us for a free consultation.