The Unit for Location and Restitution of Unclaimed Property

 
Introduction


The Unit for Location and Restitution of Unclaimed Property
is responsible for managing abandoned property in accordance with the Administrator General Law, התשל"ח – 1978.

The functions of the Unit include:
· Location of abandoned assets.
· Management of abandoned assets on behalf, and in the best interests, of their private owners.
· Release of the assets to those entitled to them, or their transferal to State Property.

The National Unit for Location and Management of Property manages various types of assets including real estate, personal property and money.
Apartments and business premises are managed by an external company supervised by the Unit. Parcels of land are managed directly by Unit personnel.
The Unit's funds are managed by the Investment Division of the Administrator General.
In addition to this primary function, the Unit is responsible for two further matters dealt with by the Administrator General:
· Management of property forfeited in criminal proceedings.
· Handling of gifts received by public employees.

Abandoned Property Management
Pursuant to the provisions of the Administrator General Law, the Administrator General is responsible for the administration of abandoned property.
"Abandoned property" is defined in section 1 of the Law as an asset in respect of which no one is entitled and able to be treated as owners, or an asset whose owner is unknown.

Under section 5 of the Legal and Administrative Matters (Regulation) Law [Consolidated Version] 1970, the Administrator General also manages property which was formerly administered by the Jordanian Custodian of Enemy Property. Following the War of Independence assets of Jews situated in areas of the West Bank outside the jurisdictional boundaries of the State of Israel were vested in the Jordanian Custodian of Enemy Property. In 1967 these assets were vested in the ruling military authorities and in 1970 responsibility for those assets within the jurisdiction of Greater Jerusalem's municipal boundaries was transferred to the Administrator General.
Notification of suspected abandoned property

Section 5 of the Administrator General Law stipulates that a person holding abandoned property or property which he has reason to believe is abandoned or a public employee who learnt of such property in the course of his duty, must notify the Administrator General and pass on to him the information he has regarding the property.

Examples of cases where there is suspicion of abandoned property:
· A case in which a person died childless, leaving property, with no known heirs.
· Property belonging to someone who is not in Israel and whose fate is unknown (with the exception of Holocaust victims).
· Property of unknown ownership.
· Property where contact has been lost with the owners (eg a bank account which has been inactive for ten or more years, a real estate property for which taxes have not been paid for an extended period of time).

 
The Department for Location of Abandoned Property
The Department for Location of Abandoned Property operates on a national level as part of the unit as well as within the regional offices of the Administrator General. The department is engaged in:
· Receiving and dealing with reports of suspected abandoned property.
· Acting to locate property owners in Israel and abroad.

If the Administrator-General cannot find the property owners, he petitions the Court with a request for an Administration Order (section 6 of the law). Where the sums involved are small such an Order is not required (section 7).
The Department for Location of Abandoned Property concentrates on dealing with lists of assets received from institutions and initiating searches to locate property and /or owners of such.
In each of the Administrator General's regional offices the department deals with specific requests from the public pertaining to suspected abandoned property in that region.
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Request for Information regarding Administered Property
The department's location actions are not always sufficient to trace the fate of every property owner. On occasions the information only surfaces when the property owner or his/her successors apply to receive the property. We view public awareness of the existence of abandoned property, its administration by the Administrator General and the opportunity of contacting to our office to receive details thereof to be of great importance.
To increase such public awareness and encourage members of the public to apply to release the property, the Administrator General regularly publishes a list of names of absentees whose property he manages. You can also contact us to clarify whether we are managing a particular asset by sending us an Absentee Inquiry Form online or by mail.
The data provided by the applicants is reviewed by the department and cross-referenced with data in the relevant file. In accordance with the findings the applicants receive specific guidelines regarding the release of the property from the Administrator General.

For further information, please contact email: Pniyot-needarim@justice.gov.il
 
Property management
The National Unit for Location and Management of Property manages various types of assets including real estate, personal property and money.
Apartments and business premises are managed by an external company supervised by the Unit.
Apartments for rent (Hebrew)

Parcels of land are managed directly by Unit personnel.
In the context of his management, the Administrator General carries out any action required to look after the property and its ongoing maintenance. . Among other things, the Administrator-General takes care of:
· Registration of the rights of the property in the owner's name,
· Registration of a note on the management of the property by the Administrator General,
Tax payment (subject to availability of funds in the account of the particular asset),
· Property rental (where appropriate),
· Auditing assets,
· Tracking changes in planning
· Taking legal steps (if necessary),
· Real estate assets transactions (in exceptional cases and subject to court approval).
The Unit's funds are managed by the Investment Division of the Administrator General according to the decisions of the Investments Committee which was established and operates under section 10 of the Law. The committee is composed of the Administrator General and representatives of the Treasury and the Bank of Israel.
Conclusion of the property management
The Administrator General's office concludes its management of the property in three principal situations:.
1. Release of the asset to persons entitled.
2. Transfer of the asset to state property,
3. Transfer of the asset to the Company for Location and Restitution of Holocaust Victims Assets' Limited.


1. Release of the asset to persons entitled
The person claiming a right in the property must prove to the satisfaction of the Administrator General that he/she is entitled to receive it.

Checking such entitlement is carried out at two levels:
a. Proof that the owner of the property managed by the Administrator General and the applicant, or the deceased relative of the applicant, are the same.
b. Proof of the applicant's right of inheritance from the owner and his portion in the estate.
In the release process, the Administrator General is careful to receive sufficient evidence regarding ownership rights in order to guarantee the asset's release into the right hands and to thwart attempts to take control, illegally, of abandoned assets. Applications can be submitted independently or through a lawyer.


Please note
In order to avoid unnecessary expense, we recommend that you submit a request to release property only after inquiring regarding the managed property and receiving specific guidelines regarding its release.
· For clarification regarding a managed property: : Pniyot-needarim@justice.gov.il
· For clarification regarding a pending release request: talia@justice.gov.il
· You can use the Hebrew release form that appears under the "Download forms" tab
· For clarification regarding redeeming JCT shares
2. Transfer of State property and assets
According to sections 15 (c1) – 15 (d) of the law, funds managed for 15 years at least by the Administrator General and real estate managed by the Administrator General for 32 years at least, will be transferred to State property subject to the carrying out of the actions listed in the law.

Prior to the transfer of any asset to the State, the Administrator General is required to perform actions with the intention of locating those with rights to the asset. These actions include:
· Publication of the name of the last known owner of the asset and notice of the intention to transfer it to State of Israel, in two daily newspapers and on the website of the Ministry of Justice.
· Referral to all relevant bodies and/or individuals in Israel who may be holding information which could assist in locating those with rights to the asset.
· Performing searches and investigations in Israel and abroad with due diligence in order to locate those with rights to the asset.
· Preparation of a report for the Court detailing the above attempts to locate those with rights to the asset.

If the Court is satisfied that it was not possible to locate those with rights to the asset, notwithstanding that the Administrator General acted reasonably and with due diligence in fulfilling his duties, the Court will approve the Administrator General's report. In so doing, the Court endorses the transfer to State property and releases the Administrator General from his management of the asset. The court may order the Administrator-General any provision it deems fit in relation to the property, including conducting of further investigations and searches to locate those with rights before approving the report.

If those with rights in the property are located after its transfer to the State, they will be entitled to the property or its value, without a time limit, in accordance with section 15 (d) of the Law.
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Properties in East Jerusalem that are administered pursuant to section 5 of the Legal and Administrative Matters (Regulation) Law [Consolidated Version] 1970, can be transferred to State property if the Court is satisfied that there is no justification to continue in their management by the Administrator General (section 15 (c4)).
For enquiries regarding the transferal of assets managed by the Administrator General to the State of Israel, please contact: elienv@Justice.gov.il

3. Transfer of property to The Company for Location and Restitution of Holocaust Victims' Assets Ltd.
Under the provisions of the Holocaust Victims Assets Law (Restitution to Heirs and Endowment for Purposes of Assistance and Commemoration) 2006, all property defined as "an asset of a Holocaust victim" was transferred to the Company for Location and Restitution of Holocaust Victims' Assets.
Assets managed by the Administrator General which fall under this category are transferred to the Company accordingly.

Property of the Mandatory Custodian of Enemy Property
With the outbreak of the Second World War the British Mandate government confiscated assets in Israel (land and money) belonging to the residents or citizens of countries under Nazi occupation. The British Mandatory powers also confiscated assets in Eretz Yisrael owned by Jews from Europe.
After the war the process of release of such property to its owners began. Following the establishment of the State of Israel, the property that had not been released was transferred to the Treasury and from 1968 the property was transferred to the management of the Administrator General.
After the establishment of the Company for Location and Restitution of Holocaust Victims' Assets Ltd, these assets were transferred to the Company in accordance with the Law.

 
Management of Property Forfeited in Criminal Proceedings
In addition to the administration of abandoned property the National Unit for Location and Management of Property is responsible for the management of property forfeited in criminal proceedings.
The unit is responsible for managing the Forfeiture Fund established under the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance [New Version] - 1973, the Prohibition of Money Laundering Law - 2000 and the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (Legislative Amendments), Law - 2006 (the fund's assets are managed by the Investment Division of the Administrator General).
In addition, the unit handles forfeiture under the Combating Criminal Organizations Law, - 2003.
The unit is also authorized to act in connection with temporary relief granted under the Prohibition on Terrorist Financing Law - 2005 whilst case law allows it to act under the Criminal Law Procedures Ordinance (Arrest and Search) (new Version) -1969.
The unit is responsible for the seizure of property, the realization of assets and the deposit of monies received thereby in the Forfeiture Fund and distribution of the proceeds of the fund in accordance with its purposes and the decisions of "Forfeiture Councils". These are public councils established under the legislation to determine the designation of the forfeited property.

Gifts to public officials
According to the Public Service (Gifts) Law - 1979, and the regulations promulgated thereunder, the Administrator-General receives notice of gifts received by public employees, which are state property.
According to the law the relevant ministry has authority to decide which gifts will be retained and which sold. The Administrator General receives for his safekeeping gifts intended for sale and handles their sale and transfer of funds to the state budget.

For clarification regarding a managed property:
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