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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 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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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.

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.

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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Unclaimed Property 101: Who’s Responsible, and How Does It Become Abandoned?

Posted By Bellmont Partners/Administration, Sunday, April 14, 2013
Updated: Friday, April 12, 2013

Welcome to another post in the Unclaimed Property 101 series. If you’re new to the field, or perhaps need a refresher on the basics, this series is for you. In our last post we covered, "What IS Unclaimed Property?” In this post, we’ll examine two more topics:

  1. Who is responsible for reporting unclaimed property?
  2. How does property become abandoned?

Who is responsible for reporting unclaimed property?

Unclaimed property must be reported to the state. But who is responsible for doing the reporting? The short answer is every "holder” of unclaimed funds is required to report them. A "holder is loosely defined as any individual, business association, governmental subdivision, estate, trust or any other type of legal or commercial entity in possession of property that belongs to another or is indebted to another according to most state laws.

While there are some exemptions that may apply, you may be surprised to learn that organizations such as governmental entities, cooperatives and Internal Revenue Code Sec. 501(c)(3) charities are typically held to the same unclaimed property standards. Most states do not provide any unclaimed property reporting exemption for special government or charitable entities – even if they are tax-exempt. Many organizations, especially 501(c)(3) charities, are caught off guard by this and learn the hard way that they were supposed to be filing unclaimed property reports. If you have outstanding unclaimed funds that you’re holding, don’t assume you’re exempt; make sure you do research to ensure that is indeed the case and that you’re not in violation of state laws.

The bottom line: If your state or the state where you should be reporting the funds does not specifically exempt your type of entity, then you must file unclaimed property reports.

How does property become abandoned?

Every year, there is an enormous amount of unclaimed property waiting to be claimed. With all of the tools and systems in place today, you may wonder how on earth such a large amount of money and assets becomes misplaced or abandoned. There are many factors at play that contribute to the issue. A few examples:

  • Companies go through system conversions, and perhaps all the accounting information doesn’t transfer correctly. All of the sudden, you’re not sure who the property belongs to anymore.
  • Owners move without forwarding address. You may see this a lot in fields in which employees change jobs and move often, such as the restaurant industry.
  • Owners simply forget that you have their funds. For example, if you opened a savings account as a teenager and there’s a very small amount of money sitting in it today, that’s incredibly easy to forget. On the other end of the spectrum, consider our country’s aging population. As people grow older, they may find it more difficult to remember and keep track of their investments – especially if the spouse who was more hands-on with the family’s finances passes away.
  • Physical documents representing property are lost (such as passbooks, CDs, stock certificates, etc.). As we move to more digital systems, this will hopefully become less of an issue.

Other examples include name changes, deaths and cases in which a company that your organization owes money to goes out of business or declares bankruptcy.

If you’re interested in learning more about the basics of unclaimed property, take a look at our Unclaimed Property 101 webinar and our Glossary of Unclaimed Property Terms.

UPPO Unclaimed Property Tools
UPPO Holders Seminar - August 14-15


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  education  FAQs  Members  UP101 

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Modernizing the Uniform Disposition of Unclaimed Property Act

Posted By Administration, Sunday, April 7, 2013
Updated: Friday, April 5, 2013

During UPPO’s 2013 Annual Conference held in San Diego, March 24-27, there was a lot of buzz about the possibility of revisions to the Uniform Disposition of Unclaimed Property Act ("the Act”). The current Act hasn’t been updated since 1995. There is little disagreement that since that time our world has changed in many ways that impact unclaimed property professionals as never imagined in 1995. To further complicate matters, many of the states have not adopted the 1995 Act and are still using modified versions of the 1981 and 1954 Acts or even homegrown unclaimed property statutes.

The Uniform Law Commission (ULC) has formed a study group to determine the feasibility of revising the 1995 Act to bring it current with today’s business environment including but not limited to new property types, financial instruments, accounting practices and technologies. The study group is holding an exploratory meeting in Washington, D.C., on April 24 to solicit input from the unclaimed property community. Key stakeholders, including UPPO, have been invited to attend the meeting to participate in the preliminary discussions.

A revision to the Act is not a task that will be done quickly or in a vacuum. If the study group recommends that the ULC move forward with revisions to the Act, the actual process may take several years to complete. UPPO’s Government Relations and Advocacy Committee (GRAC) is establishing work groups to begin the process of identifying changes that will be beneficial to its membership, considering the needs of the wide variety of industries our members represent.

At this point, one thing is for certain: UPPO pledges its support and resources to assist in the revision process. We will establish and/or join coalitions, as well as work independently, to develop position statements as deemed appropriate. We will be conducting educational and informational meetings throughout the process to assure members are informed and to be sure our membership has a voice.

The possibility of revisions to the Act is an exciting and perhaps much overdue. The apparent support from other industry groups including NAUPA, ICI, and ABA, just to name a few, bodes well for the overall collaboration of the unclaimed property community to affect changes. At this point, the key message is to stay tuned!

ULC Study Committee - Unclaimed Property Act
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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  Members  News  Policy  UP Laws 

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