When a person dies without issue, it is possible that (especially if this death happens suddenly) at the time of his death there are no heirs who can receive his estate, including also his accounts and the money kept within them.
If that money remains in the account, there may come a day when the state will keep it. It is a completely legal acquisition mechanism that transfers certain abandoned goods and properties to the Administration when such abandonment can be reliably credited.
Specifically, it is Law 33/2003 on State Assets that allows the State to appropriate certain abandoned assets. Its article 18 makes it clear that ” securities, money and other personal property deposited in the General Depository Fund and in credit institutions, companies or securities agencies or any other financial entities, as well as the balances of current accounts, savings books or other similar instruments open in these establishments “may pass into the possession of the General State Administration as long as no management has been carried out in them for 20 years .
Thus, the State will keep the money from the accounts that, under that criterion, have been abandoned. It is something that also happens with homes (although in this case there is no term) and that, as regards the accounts, can affect those of already deceased people without heirs or those of other people who, whatever the reason, they have abandoned them.
All the money found in these accounts cannot be freely used by the Administration: the law obliges the State to “finance programs aimed at promoting the improvement of the educational conditions of people with disabilities .”
Banks are obliged to notify the Ministry of Finance of the existence of abandoned balances and deposits close to the date on which that period expires. The Bank of Spain informs that, in advance, these entities have to verify that in fact no movements have been made in the account during those 20 years.
Afterwards, they must notify the holder three months before the deadline to inform him of the situation of possible abandonment, something that will only be done when the amount of the existing balances in the account is greater than the cost of the operation.
At that point, the transfer of funds depends on the absence or absence of a response: if there is no response (or it took place without seeking to avoid it), the State will proceed to keep the account and the money that remains deposited.