Custody by state — Holder relieved from liability — Reimbursement of holder paying claim — Reclaiming for owner — Defense of holder — Payment of safe deposit box or repository charges.
(1) Upon the payment or delivery of property to the department, the state assumes custody and responsibility for the safekeeping of the property. A person who pays or delivers property to the department in good faith is relieved of all liability to the extent of the value of the property paid or delivered for any claim then existing or which thereafter may arise or be made in respect to the property.
(2) A holder who has paid money to the department pursuant to this chapter may make payment to any person appearing to the holder to be entitled to payment and, upon filing proof of payment and proof that the payee was entitled thereto, the department shall promptly reimburse the holder for the payment without imposing any fee or other charge. If reimbursement is sought for a payment made on an instrument, including a travelers check or money order, the holder must be reimbursed under this subsection upon filing proof that the instrument was duly presented and that payment was made to a person who appeared to the holder to be entitled to payment. The holder must be reimbursed for payment made under this subsection even if the payment was made to a person whose claim was barred under RCW 63.29.290(1).
(3) A holder who has delivered property (including a certificate of any interest in a business association) other than money to the department pursuant to this chapter may reclaim the property if still in the possession of the department, without paying any fee or other charge, upon filing proof that the owner has claimed the property from the holder.
(4) The department may accept the holder's affidavit as sufficient proof of the facts that entitle the holder to recover money and property under this section.
(5) If the holder pays or delivers property to the department in good faith and thereafter another person claims the property from the holder or another state claims the money or property under its laws relating to escheat or abandoned or unclaimed property, the department, upon written notice of the claim, shall defend the holder against the claim and indemnify the holder against any liability on the claim.
(6) For the purposes of this section, "good faith" means that:
(a) Payment or delivery was made in a reasonable attempt to comply with this chapter;
(b) The person delivering the property was not a fiduciary then in breach of trust in respect to the property and had a reasonable basis for believing, based on the facts then known to him or her, that the property was abandoned for the purposes of this chapter; and
(c) There is no showing that the records pursuant to which the delivery was made did not meet reasonable commercial standards of practice in the industry.
(7) Property removed from a safe deposit box or other safekeeping repository is received by the department subject to the holder's right under this subsection to be reimbursed for the actual cost of the opening and to any valid lien or contract providing for the holder to be reimbursed for unpaid rent or storage charges. The department shall reimburse or pay the holder out of the proceeds remaining after deducting the department's selling cost. The liability of the department for this reimbursement to the holder shall be limited to the proceeds of the sale of the property remaining after the deduction of the department's costs.
[2012 c 117 § 180; 1983 c 179 § 20.]