Unclaimed funds are monies deposited with the Court by a bankruptcy case trustee pursuant to 11 U.S.C. section 347. Most unclaimed funds arise in bankruptcy cases when the checks mailed by the trustee to the creditors are not cashed. Under the Bankruptcy Code, the trustee must stop payment on any check that remains unpaid 90 days after final distribution in the case. The unclaimed funds are turned over to the Court to hold for the benefit of the creditor. Applications for release of unclaimed funds must comply with 28 U.S.C. section 2042.
Searching Unclaimed Funds:
To search unclaimed funds deposited with the Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of New York from December 2009 through the present date, use the Unclaimed Funds Locator click_here . Select NYWB-Western District of New York from the dropdown list located in the Court box and then enter known search criteria (i.e., debtor and/or creditor names, case#). If you need access to a computer to perform the search, you may use the Court's public computer terminals located in the Clerk's Office Public Lobby of the Robert H. Jackson Courthouse, 2 Niagara Square, Buffalo, NY 14202. Additionally, you may contact the Clerk's Office Financial Department at (716) 362-3200 to verify unclaimed fund balances that may exist prior to December of 2009. A search fee of $32.00 may be assessed for the Court to perform extensive searches for unclaimed fund deposits on your behalf, and a fee of $64 will be assessed for the Court to retrieve archived files, if necessary. For a successful record search, it is helpful if you know the claimant's name, case number and approximately when the funds were deposited with the Court.
Claiming Unclaimed Funds:
To apply for an order directing payment of unclaimed funds, see the instructions and forms below. Failure to follow these instructions, complete the necessary forms and provide the requested information may delay or prevent payment.
- Director's Form 1340: Application for Payment of Unclaimed Funds;
- Form W-8BEN: (form for foreign claimants to claim exempt status from tax withholdings);
- Form W-9: Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification;
- Form AO-213: Request for Vendor Information and TIN Certification;
- Form AO-215: Request to Determine Foreign Vendor Tax Payments;
See the Instructions to determine which forms to use. Forms AO-213 and AO-215 allow the payee to elect to receive disbursement of unclaimed funds by Treasury check or by electronic funds transfer (EFT). The Court strongly encourages election of EFT as this payment method will result in a faster disbursement of funds and less likely to be lost or stolen.
Please contact the Court's Financial Department at (716) 362-3200 if you need further assistance in recovering the funds to which you may be entitled.