Monday, January 31, 2011

Unclaimed Property Meeting in San Antonio (No, not the UPPO Conference)

Soon, more than 500 people will come to San Antonio, Texas to discuss current issues relating to unclaimed property.  Yes, the 2011 Annual Conference of the Unclaimed Property Professionals' Organization will be in San Antonio this year, but that is not the meeting we mean.

According to MySanAntonio.com, more than 500 descendants of Spanish and Mexican land grantees (e.g., people who were granted land in Texas by the Spanish and Mexican governments prior to Texas' independence) are meeting in San Antonio to request that the Texas Legislature amend the Texas Unclaimed Property Act to allow them receive unclaimed proceeds from mineral rights.

Under the Texas Unclaimed Property Act, mineral royalties and related payments are escheatable if unclaimed for 3 years.  In many instances, however, the owners of these lands have died intestate (i.e., without a will) and with no known heirs.  Accordingly, the funds have simply been escheated to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, where they are unlikely ever to be claimed.

According to the article, the purported descendants of the earlier property owners "want legislation to set up a method by which the state can identify and qualify descendants of the original grantees using legal and historical documents as well as family genealogical research." 

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