Abandoned Property in New Hampshire: A Comprehensive Guide for Owners and Finders

Unsure how to handle abandoned property in New Hampshire? Our guide covers everything from claiming ownership to tax implications and legal rights. Don’t miss out on the information you need to know.

What is Abandoned Property?

Abandoned property is defined as property that has been abandoned by its owner, and which no one has claimed for a period of time.

In New Hampshire, this means that the owner must have been absent from the state for at least five years. Abandoned property is also distinct from unclaimed property: while both are considered to be assets belonging to someone else, abandoned property is not necessarily associated with a financial institution or other entity that holds it; rather, it may be in someone’s possession without their knowledge or consent (such as when they move out of state).

What are the Rules for Ownership?

Ownership is established in a number of ways. When you buy something, you’re buying it from someone who owns it. You might also inherit an item from someone who has died or be given one as a gift. Sometimes, though, people don’t know who owns an abandoned property and need help finding out who does.

When someone leaves behind personal property after they die (like clothes or furniture), their heirs can claim ownership if they have written evidence that proves the deceased person wanted them to have those items–for example: if there’s an old will stating that certain items should go to specific individuals upon the owner’s death; or if there are letters between family members discussing what should happen with certain belongings when one dies; etcetera).

If no one steps forward with proof of ownership within 30 days after discovering abandoned property on public land (or 60 days for private land), then New Hampshire law says that state agencies may take possession of these items as “abandoned” since no one has come forward yet!

What is the Process for Claiming Abandoned Property?

The first step to claiming abandoned property is to determine whether you are eligible to make a claim. If you are not the rightful owner of the item, then you cannot file a claim for it. In order for someone else to make a claim on your behalf, they must have written authorization from you or be able to prove that they are related by blood or marriage (such as an immediate family member).

In order for any person who is not an owner or heir of an abandoned item–or someone who has been given permission by an owner–to file a claim with their local police department or sheriff’s office in New Hampshire, they must fill out Form PD-1321: Claimant’s Statement Regarding Abandoned Property and submit it along with proof of ownership (for example: receipts showing purchase price). The form includes instructions explaining how long after filing it takes before being notified about whether your application has been approved or denied; however this varies depending upon what kind of property was found.*

Once approved by law enforcement officials as having met all requirements necessary for making such claims against public agencies throughout New Hampshire.

How to Dispose of Abandoned Property?

If you have found abandoned property, it is important to know how to dispose of it. Abandoned property is defined as any personal property that has been left behind by its owner and appears to be abandoned.
If you find abandoned property in New Jersey, there are specific rules and regulations regarding how long you have before disposing of it. For example:

  • If the value of the item(s) does not exceed $100, then they may be disposed of immediately without notice being given to anyone else who might claim ownership rights over them.
  • If the value exceeds $100 but does not exceed $500 then notice must be posted on a public bulletin board in an area frequented by residents at least seven days prior

Tax Implications of Abandoned Property

Abandoned property is subject to the same state and local taxes as all other property. For example, if you sell an abandoned car in New York City, you must pay a sales tax of 8% on the sale price.
In some cases, it may be possible for you to claim a refund of taxes paid on abandoned property if:

  • You are able to prove that someone else was responsible for paying those taxes (for example, if they were responsible for paying utilities or property insurance) and they never did so; or
  • The amount paid by someone else exceeded what was actually due (for example, if they paid more than $500 for utilities).

What Happens if an Owner Cannot Be Located?

If you are unable to locate the owner and believe that abandoned property is in your possession, contact the state. The New Hampshire Abandoned Property Program will work with law enforcement officials to recover the property and return it to its rightful owner. If no one claims ownership within three years of recovery, then the state will dispose of it as they see fit.

What Are the Penalties for Not Claiming Abandoned Property?

If you don’t claim your property, it will be sold at auction. The proceeds from the sale go to the state’s general fund.
There are consequences for not claiming abandoned property:

  • You may be charged with a misdemeanor if you fail to report or pay taxes on unclaimed property in excess of $1,000 (or its equivalent). This can result in up to one year in prison and/or fines up to $1,000 per day for each day that the failure continues after notification has been given by certified mail or personal service that such taxes are due and payable; plus interest at 1% per month from date of assessment until paid off

What Are the Rights of the State Regarding Abandoned Property?

The state has the right to take possession of abandoned property and sell it at auction. If you believe that your property has been wrongfully taken, you can file a claim with the court. The court will then decide if your claim is valid or not.

If you are unable to locate an owner or heir within three years of discovering abandoned property, then you may be able to keep it yourself!

What Are the Rights of the Owner Regarding Abandoned Property?

What are the rights of the owner regarding abandoned property?
The owner’s right to reclaim abandoned property is limited by law. The state can take possession of abandoned property if:

  • It has been unclaimed for at least five years and there is no indication that its rightful owner will come forward within that time frame; or
  • The owner has died without leaving a valid will that names someone else as his or her heir (this includes a spouse).


The information in this article is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. You should consult with an attorney before making any decisions about your abandoned property rights.

If you have questions about your rights as a landlord or tenant, contact the New Hampshire Bar Association’s Lawyer Referral Service at 1-800-852-3420.

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