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Unclaimed Property Focus
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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.

 

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

Attend "The VDA Update: DE Opens the Doors for Holders" at the Holders Seminar

Posted By Joe Carr & Kendall Houghton, presenters at the Holders Seminar, Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Delaware opened its doors to holders last year with its revamped Voluntary Disclosure Agreement (VDA) program. In the past, participating in Delaware’s VDA program meant entering into what some holders have described as an unpredictable, lengthy process that could potentially result in an audit. As is widely known, many holders that had filed VDAs were audited for various reasons. Reverting back to its business-friendly mantra, Delaware has thrown out its old VDA program, in favor of a clearer, more predictable model. 

To conclude the Holders Seminar on Aug. 15, Kendall Houghton, partner with Alston & Bird LLP, and Joe Carr tax partner at BDO, will present "The VDA Update: DE Opens the Doors for Holders.” This session is relevant and open to all attendees, regardless of experience level.

Both Houghton and Carr are experienced practitioners and have extensive knowledge of Delaware's VDA program. During the presentation, Houghton and Carr will push the published guidelines aside and share the realities of Delaware's VDA program. We want to pull attendees toward how things are actually working and give them the nitty-gritty of the opportunity areas and issues they will face.

Highlights of Delaware's VDA Program

  • Expectations and guidelines are clear and guaranteed
  • Maximum duration of VDA program is two years
  • The Secretary of State is the administrator of the VDA
  • Completing the VDA program releases responsibility of all past due unclaimed property liability
  • Certainty that all liability for historic unclaimed property is released

"The VDA Update: DE Opens the Doors for Holders" will be a great learning opportunity for all attendees. If you haven't yet registered for the Holders Seminar, there is still time!

More Resources
Delaware's Secretary of State's post on the VDA program

Join UPPO today and receive an exclusive member discount at the Holders Seminar!


Tags:  Delaware  education  Holders  Holders Seminar  Members  news  UPPO  VDA 

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Ontario Seeks More Feedback on Proposed Unclaimed Property Law

Posted By Karen Anderson, Senior Vice President, Unclaimed Property Recovery and Reporting, LLC, Sunday, June 9, 2013

In announcing budget objectives for the 2012 Ontario Budget, provincial officials indicated the Ontario government would establish a program to reunite owners with unclaimed intangible property, and for the government of Ontario to hold such property for the benefit of Ontarians unless and until the property is claimed. To this end, the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General asked for written comments last fall on the proposed "Unclaimed Intangible Property Program.” The Ministry provided a "consultation” document including background information and questions the Ministry requested be addressed and submitted by responders no later than October 19, 2012.

Recently, the Ontario Ministry notified stakeholders that they would seek additional feedback during a series of round table meetings in Toronto, beginning with an industry specific "retail” round table on Monday, June 10. Four other meetings have been scheduled:

  1. Municipal – June 11
  2. Insurance – June 14
  3. Financial Services – (Other than Insurance) – June 17
  4. Others (Legal, Not-for-Profit, etc.) – June 18

In addition, the Ministry has indicated that it also will accept written comment submissions at this time.

The Ontario Government is using the "Unclaimed Intangible Property Act” (CUUPA) as the basis for discussion and for their potential law. This "model” law was created by the Uniform Law Commission of Canada and has some provisions, which are similar to those in state unclaimed property laws. The CUUPA, like unclaimed property laws in the United States, has defined dormancy periods for typical property types (five years for most, three years for others such as gift certificates, one year for wages) and due diligence, reporting and remitting requirements. Under the CUUPA, the reporting deadline is in the Spring (around April 30th), the due diligence minimum is "less than $100,” and the due diligence notice must be delivered at least three months but not more than six months prior to meeting the reporting deadline. It is recognized in the language of the CUUPA and in the drafters’ comments that the jurisdictional basis for the provincial laws will differ from the state laws, which derive jurisdiction from the U.S. Supreme Court decision Texas v. New Jersey.

UPPO is in contact with the appropriate officials in the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General. Through the Government Relations and Advocacy Committee (GRAC), UPPO will not only monitor the Ministry’s progress but also will provide Ontario officials with comments regarding the development of the proposed law. UPPO members who want more information about the round table meetings and/or would like to register to attend them should contact the Ministry’s John Lee at john.a.lee@ontario.ca or 416-326-5114, or Rosemary Logan at rosemary.logan2@ontario.ca or 416-326-2515.

OTHER RESOURCES
U.S. Uniform Unclaimed Property Act
UPPO govWATCH - Legislative Monitoring


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  Due Diligence  education  Members  UP Laws 

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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 

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Introducing Inaugural UPPO Scholarship Recipient Ann Hopkins

Posted By Administration, Sunday, May 5, 2013
Updated: Friday, May 3, 2013

At our Annual Conference last month in San Diego, UPPO awarded its first $1,000 UPPO Scholarship to Ann Hopkins, daughter of UPPO member Chris Hopkins with Crowe Horwath, LLP. Ann is a currently a sophomore at Penn State University and a prospective nuclear engineering major. As a Scholar of the Schreyer Honors College at Penn State, Ann is aiming for success!

 

UPPO’s Board of Directors established the UPPO Scholarship Program to assist UPPO members and members’ children who plan to continue their education in college or vocational school programs. Renewable scholarships are offered each year for full-time study at an accredited institution of the student’s choice.

The renewable nature of the UPPO Scholarship means that recipients are eligible to receive the award for up to four years or a maximum of $4,000 provided they maintain their eligibility.

UPPO has established a UPPO Scholarship Committee that is responsible for fund raising and oversight of the program. A third-party administrator, Scholarship Management Services, administers the program.

To raise money to support the Scholarship Program, UPPO held its first fundraiser at the Annual Conference with a 5K Fun Run/Walk. More than 130 attendees supported the event and three of our members donated additional corporate contributions to further support the program. The winners of the 5K event were Kelvin Lawrence, Jason Higginbotham and Chris Jensen for the men and Elizabeth Webb, Teresa Miller and Nicole Davis for the women! Congratulations to them and to ALL who supported the Scholarship Program.

 

Are you or your dependent(s) potential candidates for the UPPO Scholarship Program? Check out the eligibility requirements. UPPO will notify all member representatives when the 2013 application period opens. All applications must be postmarked by December 31, 2013. UPPO’s third party administrator will select the award recipient in early 2014 and the scholarship award will be announced at UPPO’s 2014 Annual Conference in Dallas.

OTHER RESOURCES
UPPO Scholarship Program


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:  Members  News 

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ULC Study Committee Convenes in Washington, D.C.; UPPO to Host ULC Educational Webinar

Posted By Administration, Friday, April 26, 2013

Representatives from UPPO and unclaimed property leaders from across the country joined members of a Uniform Law Commission (ULC) study committee on Wednesday, April 24 in Washington, D.C. for a stakeholders meeting to discuss possible review and revision of the Uniform Unclaimed Property Act (UUPA).

Changes to the UUPA – which was last updated in 1995 – would have a significant impact on unclaimed property holders, as well as state administrators and lawmakers. Wednesday’s meeting was designed for the ULC’s study committee to gather viewpoints from a broad assemblage of stakeholders and evaluate the input before reporting back to the ULC’s Scope and Project Committee with a recommendation.

The ULC will make its final determination about whether or not to revise the UUPA during its 2013 annual conference in July.

The preliminary feedback shared at the meeting was incredibly useful as a starting point for discussions about revising the UUPA, and nearly all participants agreed on a need for some sort of revision. So much has changed since 1995, including information resources like the Internet and digital record-keeping rendering many portions of the UPPA outdated or unclear.

Other issues discussed during the meeting included:

  • The need for more clarity and uniformity in reporting requirements.
  • The need for better and timelier outreach to reunite owners/heirs with their property earlier in the process.
  • The use and acceptance of electronic methods for owner contact and due diligence.
  • Review of the activity standard for triggering dormancy periods.
  • How advances in technology, legal decisions, competing statutes and federal regulations require a review of the current UUPA.

To help the unclaimed property community better understand and navigate any proposed UUPA changes, UPPO will be hosting a Uniform Law Commission webinar on Wednesday, May 22 at 1:00 p.m. EDT.

During the webinar, UPPO President Karen Anderson from Unclaimed Property Recovery and Reporting, LLC, UPPO Government Relations and Advocacy Committee Co-Chair Kendall Houghton with Alston & Bird LLP and UPPO First Vice President Debbie Zumoff with Keane will provide attendees with an overview of the April 24 ULC stakeholders meeting, including a listing of some of the issues presented by stakeholders as potential areas for amendments or inclusion in a revised UUPA and discuss the ULC’s potential next steps.

Multiple employees are welcome to participate with only one webinar connection, and one CPE credit is available upon completion.

Subscribe to UPPO Focus and stay informed about breaking news from the Uniform Law Commission regarding the UUPA.


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  Due Diligence  education  Members  Policy  UP Laws 

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