Join now!   |   Subscribe   |   Pay an Invoice   |   Contact Us   |   Sign In
Unclaimed Property Focus
Blog Home All Blogs
UNCLAIMED PROPERTY FOCUS is a blog written by and for UPPO members, featuring diverse perspectives and insights from unclaimed property practitioners across the U.S. and Canada. We welcome your submissions to Unclaimed Property Focus. Please contact Tim Dressen via tim@uppo.org with any questions about submitting a blog post for consideration and refer to our editorial guidelines when writing your blog post. Disclaimer: Information and/or comments to this blog is not intended as a substitute for legal advice on compliance or reporting requirements.

 

Search all posts for:   

 

Top tags: unclaimed property  Compliance  education  UPPO  due diligence  audits  Delaware  Advocacy  reform  litigation  Members  ULC  UP101  UP Laws  reporting  RUUPA  Uniform Law Commission  Holders Seminar  legislation  Canada  Gift Cards  service providers  uniform unclaimed property act  UPPO Asks  Annual Conference  fall reporting  Policy  VDA  FAQs  Pennsylvania 

Look It Up: Locating Unclaimed Property Owners in the Information Age

Posted By Administration, Sunday, June 2, 2013
Updated: Sunday, June 2, 2013

By John Waite, Chief Operating Officer, Boomerang Asset Recovery

The Internet and access to many different forms of data has fundamentally changed the way unclaimed property professionals can locate and contact apparent property owners and heirs, making the due diligence process easier than ever before. However, while information is abundant and readily accessible, the key to simplifying this procedure is knowing how to seek the right type of data and avoid common anomalies that can complicate searches.

One of the most frequent problems with online searches occurs if an apparent owner’s name or account information is inaccurate when retrieved from a specific source. For example, I recently received a notification letter regarding unclaimed assets from an insurance company, but the letter was addressed to "John White,” not "John Waite.” This was most likely retrieved from an old catalog mailing list which listed my name incorrectly. Even the smartest online search tools can’t account for name misspellings and other recording errors, so it’s important for holders to understand the data and develop customized databases and algorithms to account for these discrepancies.

Locating beneficiaries for insurance proceeds, inheritance and other forms of unclaimed personal property may be especially problematic for holders, particularly smaller companies who lack the resources to spend copious amounts of time searching public records or the IT resources to create custom solutions. Pay-per-search database services – such as Accurant and Lexis-Nexis –allow holders to "rent” their data in order to find relatives or locate people who have moved based on last known address, but for many smaller companies, the cost can be prohibitive.

For small companies, manual searches using public information may be helpful in obtaining apparent owners’ contact information, but this method may be too time-consuming and expensive for large companies with large amounts of potential escheatable property. Companies that do not have the internal resources or funds to perform this function in house can engage a service provider that can handle the process. Their experience in performing searches can help in reducing the amount of property escheated by tracking down the rightful owner.

As technology and data advancements continue, and companies develop and improve proprietary software specifically for use in unclaimed property compliance, the industry could one day do away with hard copy due diligence letters altogether. Future solutions could employ online notification and verification systems (as many financial service institutions already do) to determine identity using information only the rightful owners would know, such as mother’s maiden name, etc. This would eliminate a very time-consuming part of the process for holders and could help improve response rates, allowing more apparent owners to retrieve their property before it escheats to the state.

The UPPO website has links and resources for holders seeking unclaimed property owners. Members also get preferred access to ongoing learning opportunities that can help holders find rightful property owners quickly and efficiently.

UPPO members and non-members can also learn more about locating apparent owners of unclaimed property, plus dozens of other topics, at the annual UPPO Holders Seminar, August 14-15, 2013 in Chicago. Register today and receive an early-bird discount.

OTHER RESOURCES
UPPO Member Resources
2013 Holders Seminar


 

Tags:  Compliance  Due Diligence  education  Service Providers 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

2013 Holders Seminar offers world class training for unclaimed property professionals

Posted By Administration, Sunday, May 26, 2013

Most unclaimed property professionals begin their career by accident. Regardless of intended career path, they were assigned the task of "handling unclaimed property” for their organization and then found themselves needing to "figure things out” as quickly as possible. One thing discovered very quickly is that unclaimed property compliance is confusing and complex and they need help!

Recognizing the need for unclaimed property education, the Unclaimed Property Professionals Organization (UPPO) developed its Holders Seminar to provide education for both the basic and intermediate learners. As a one day seminar, it is designed to provide in-depth information is a very condensed period of time. In addition to networking with peers from other companies engaged in unclaimed property reporting, attendees will learn about returning property to its rightful owner, communicating with state unclaimed property representatives, leveraging technological innovations and provides the opportunity to meet with service providers.

In addition, this year’s Holders Seminar will include a session on unclaimed property reform, discussing recent activities by the ABA and ULC to revise the uniform unclaimed property act. UPPO has supported certain unclaimed property reforms and this session is designed to discuss specific areas where reform is likely to focus. It will also provide attendees the opportunity to provide input and feedback regarding areas of importance for their organization and/or industry.

We invite you to join us in Chicago, August 14-15 for the 2013 Holders Seminar. Please review the packed agenda and register to take advantage of the Early Bird rate.

OTHER RESOURCES
UNCLAIMED PROPERTY 101 - WEBINAR


The analysis and opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Unclaimed Property Professionals Organization or its officers, directors or members. This summary document provides background information and is not intended as a substitute for legal advice.  

Tags:  Compliance  Due Diligence  education  UP101 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

2013 Holders Seminar offers world class training for unclaimed property professionals

Posted By Administration, Sunday, May 26, 2013

Most unclaimed property professionals begin their career by accident. Regardless of intended career path, they were assigned the task of "handling unclaimed property” for their organization and then found themselves needing to "figure things out” as quickly as possible. One thing discovered very quickly is that unclaimed property compliance is confusing and complex and they need help!

Recognizing the need for unclaimed property education, the Unclaimed Property Professionals Organization (UPPO) developed its Holders Seminar to provide education for both the basic and intermediate learners. As a one day seminar, it is designed to provide in-depth information is a very condensed period of time. In addition to networking with peers from other companies engaged in unclaimed property reporting, attendees will learn about returning property to its rightful owner, communicating with state unclaimed property representatives, leveraging technological innovations and provides the opportunity to meet with service providers.

In addition, this year’s Holders Seminar will include a session on unclaimed property reform, discussing recent activities by the ABA and ULC to revise the uniform unclaimed property act. UPPO has supported certain unclaimed property reforms and this session is designed to discuss specific areas where reform is likely to focus. It will also provide attendees the opportunity to provide input and feedback regarding areas of importance for their organization and/or industry.

We invite you to join us in Chicago, August 14-15 for the 2013 Holders Seminar. Please review the packed agenda and register to take advantage of the Early Bird rate.


The analysis and opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Unclaimed Property Professionals Organization or its officers, directors or members. This summary document provides background information and is not intended as a substitute for legal advice.  

Tags:  Compliance  Due Diligence  education  UP101 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Oops! How To Avoid The Five Most Common Unclaimed Property Reporting and Remitting Errors

Posted By Guest Author - Valerie M. Jundt, Managing Director, Keane UP, Sunday, May 19, 2013
Updated: Friday, May 17, 2013

For those of us working in unclaimed property reporting, we all know the importance of accuracy. If you miss a filing deadline or fail to include all applicable critical information on the report, then you might be facing an audit, penalties or (in some states) misdemeanor charges.

UPPO is committed to providing the most timely, accurate information for unclaimed property holders, helping you take the guesswork out of reporting and making it easier for you to comply with all relevant state laws and deadlines.

Here are the five common reporting errors that holders make, along with advice on how to mitigate those errors. More information on unclaimed property reporting is available at UPPO.org.

1) Reporting and remitting unclaimed property to the wrong jurisdiction

With 54 U.S. reporting jurisdictions and a patchwork of different laws and deadlines, it is not always easy to determine the proper state or territory for reporting and remitting unclaimed property.

There are three considerations when trying to ascertain the appropriate jurisdiction for reporting:

  • State of the owner’s last known address
  • State of the holder’s incorporation or domicile, if the owner’s address is not known
  • State of holder’s incorporation or domicile if the address of the apparent owner is in a foreign country AND if the holder is incorporated or domiciled in the U.S.

Depending on the state law, holders may be obligated to report unclaimed property in all jurisdictions that apply, using the criteria listed above. Check your state’s reporting guidelines to be certain.

2) Failing to include all relevant property types, including liabilities that may be held by a third-party agent

Unclaimed property is a wide-ranging "umbrella” term and can include many different types of tangible and intangible personal property. Property types include, but are not limited to:

- Un-cashed checks

- Deposits

- Customer credits

- Refunds

- Unapplied payments

- Dormant accounts

- Benefit payments

- Accounts receivable

- Accounts payable

- Retirement assets

- Un-cashed payroll

- Unidentified cash/credits

- Retirement assets

- Workers’ Comp

- Travelers’ checks

- Matured bonds

- Un-exchanged shares

- Unpaid dividends

- Underlying stock

- Other general ledger items

- Tangible property (safe deposit box contents)

- Commissions

- Rebates

- Mineral-related property

If you outsource certain payment functions to a third party (TPA); such as a Transfer Agent (to manage securities, dividend payments, proxies); payroll functions, rebates, etc…it is critical that the contract specifically spells out the responsibility for unclaimed property responsibilities. If the responsibility is assigned to the contractor, it is important to periodically test for compliance and insist on obtaining copies of the reports that have been filed on your behalf. At the end of the day, while you may be outsourcing the "function”, ensuring compliance is your responsibility. Should your company change TPAs or the TPA cease doing business or merge with another company you could be at risk of losing critical data that will ultimately be needed to further confirm that your company is in compliance.

3) Failure to properly address and consider successor liability

Holders may be successors that assume the liability for property created by prior companies. Corporations that grow through acquisitions often have liability for unclaimed property that originated with their acquired businesses. These acquired businesses probably did not file unclaimed property reports for all categories of property, but the states assert that any unclaimed property obligations would likely shift from the successor business. The successor may be successful in showing that it acquired only certain assets and not the stock, but if the acquisition was by purchase or exchange of stock, then the state will assert the corporation is responsible for all liabilities including the unclaimed property.

Sorting out successor liability can be difficult, and staff and outside counsel will need sufficient time to research the facts and law that apply to each corporate merger or acquisition. These problems can be reduced if unclaimed property issues are first considered during the consolidation phase. Again, a suggested best practice is to request copies of the various unclaimed property reports that were filed by the acquired company prior to or in conjunction with the transition.

4) Filing your report "off cycle” (i.e., with an incorrect due date)

Annual reports are due to most states in the fall, with some state laws requiring a spring reporting period as well. The majority of the states outline due diligence requirements to be performed no less than 90 days and no more than 120 days prior to the reporting deadline. Depending on the property type and the state’s individual guidelines, some states may require notifications to be made by certified mail and/or advertising.

There are many unique differences and requirements among states. Reporting property too early, with an incorrect report cycle or due date, or failure to comply with other elements of a state unclaimed property statute can result in fines and/or interest being assessed to the holder. States such as Texas and Michigan recently modified their reporting due dates to July 1 of each year. Check state reporting guidelines to ensure compliance with individual filing schedules and deadlines.

5) Failure to update systems and processes to incorporate changes in various state laws, dormancy periods, due diligence requirements and reporting formats

State laws regarding unclaimed property requirements are changing on a regular basis and often include essential information about the reporting process, including look-back periods, dormancy periods and even the types of files that are accepted as documentation. Staying on top of changes in state statutes can be time-consuming, but ultimately less work than being subject to an audit, fines or other penalties.

An online service – govWATCH – provides weekly email updates of state legislative activity related to unclaimed property, with customizable alerts and search features available to simplify tracking changes in state laws. A govWATCH subscription is included as a membership benefit when joining UPPO. The UPPO Government Relations team also provides a summary of the news and information, making it relevant and applicable to your daily work.

UPPO members and non-members can learn more about common unclaimed property reporting errors, plus dozens of other topics, at the annual UPPO Holders Seminar, August 14-15, 2013 in Chicago. Register today and receive an early-bird discount.

OTHER RESOURCES
State Unclaimed Property Information  (NAUPA)
Securities Transfer Association (STA)

govWATCH


The analysis and opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Unclaimed Property Professionals Organization or its officers, directors or members. This summary document provides background information and is not intended as a substitute for legal advice.

Tags:  Compliance  Due Diligence  education  FAQs  Reporting  UP101 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Regulatory UP-Date 2013: The Story So Far

Posted By GRAC Member, Michael Rato, Sunday, May 12, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, May 8, 2013

When UPPO issued its last Regulatory UP-Date in January, the headline item was about Delaware: specifically, the creation of a new (and temporary) Voluntary Disclosure Agreement program run by the Secretary of State’s office. While that program has received a significant amount of publicity from the state, service providers, and the unclaimed property media (to the extent that there is such a thing), the first third of the year has also seen a variety of other legislative developments that may be of interest to holders in particular industries or states. We encourage you to follow UPPO’s govWATCH for the most up to date information, but below is a sampling of some of legislative changes that have already been enacted in 2013.

Developments for Insurers

The past few years have seen substantial regulatory developments relating to life insurers, and this year seems to be continuing that trend. For example, on March 29, Montana enacted the "Unclaimed Life Insurance Benefits Act” (Montana Senate Bill 34), which will require insurers and related entities, starting next year, to compare their policies against the Social Security Administration’s death master file (or a similar database) on a semiannual basis. Similar searches will be required in New Mexico beginning July 1 of this year, and in North Dakota before next November, as a result of legislation that passed in those states (New Mexico Senate Bill 312, enacted April 1; North Dakota House Bill 1171, enacted April 30). Back on the East Coast, insurers in the Empire State will be required to make these searches on a quarterly basis as a result of NY Assembly Bill 1831, enacted March 15.

Gift Cards

There have also been a few developments relating to gift cards. In Colorado, new legislation (Colorado House Bill 1102, enacted March 15) created a reporting exemption for "small” issuers of gift cards, providing that holders selling less than $200,000 per year of gift cards are not required to report unclaimed cards to the state. Also of note, the newly created Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (CFPB) published its long awaited determination concerning whether Maine and Tennessee unclaimed property laws relating to gift cards are preempted by federal law. UPPO’s earlier coverage of the decision can be found here, but in short, the CFPB ruled that all of the applicable laws were valid and enforceable with the exception of one provision of the Tennessee Act that would permit an issuer to refuse to honor a gift card as soon as two years from the date of issuance (which is inconsistent with provisions of federal law generally requiring most gift cards to remain valid for at least five years).

Process and Procedure

A number of bills signed into law thus far this year deal with the procedural nuts and bolts of reporting, remitting, and/or claiming abandoned property. In Florida, Senate Bill 464 (enacted April 30) allows the Department of Financial Services to accept owner claims electronically. Conversely, Indiana Senate Bill 222 (enacted April 12) will require holders to report property electronically. That law also purports to change the priority rules (and other requirements) for safe deposit box items, providing that Indiana may take custody of both (a) abandoned safe deposit boxes in Indiana and (b) abandoned safe deposit boxes outside of Indiana held for Indiana residents. In Alabama, House Bill 112 made a wide variety of changes – substantive and procedural – to Alabama’s Unclaimed Property Act. UPPO’s earlier overview of that legislation can be found here. Two unclaimed property bills have been passed in North Dakota, one adding a definition of "money orders” to the Unclaimed Property Act (North Dakota House Bill 1162, approved April 1), the other allowing the state to contract with private parties to perform audits where the state has "reason to believe” a holder has not complied with the Act (North Dakota Senate Bill 2058, approved March 14).

Although Delaware has grabbed most of the headlines in 2013 thus far, other state legislatures have also been busy in the unclaimed property area. We encourage you to consult govWATCH for the most up-to-date information.

OTHER RESOURCES
govWATCH
Michael Rato - LinkedIn


The analysis and opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Unclaimed Property Professionals Organization or its officers, directors or members. This summary document provides background information and is not intended as a substitute for legal advice.

Tags:  Advocacy  Compliance  Due Diligence  Gift Cards  Insurance  Members  Policy  UP Laws 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 
Page 46 of 49
 |<   <<   <  41  |  42  |  43  |  44  |  45  |  46  |  47  |  48  |  49
Membership Software Powered by YourMembership  ::  Legal