Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Unclaimed Property ("Bona Vacantia") in the UK

As we've mentioned before, modern-day unclaimed property laws stem from the British common-law doctrine of bona vacantia ("ownerless goods") under which lost, mislaid, and abandoned property was turned over to the crown.

That doctrine still exists in the U.K.  For example, in the Vale of White Horse (England), local authorities will use bona vacantia to provide public funerals for those who die without heirs, a will, or other burial arrangements.  The remainder of any estate is transferred to the Office of the Treasury Solicitor where unclaimed estates can be searched and claimed.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

At the Missouri State Fair: Racing Pigs, The Doobie Brothers, and Unclaimed Property

From August 11 to 21, the Missouri State Fair is being held in Sedalia, Missouri.  Among the festivities are "Hedrick's Racing Pigs Show," a concert by the Doobie Brothers, and a presentation entitled "Beef, It's Good."  It's also a place to have your unclaimed property questions answered.  According to an article in the Columbia Daily Tribune, Missouri State Treasurer Clint Zweifel's unclaimed property team will be in attendance at the State Fair to answer questions and help Missourians search for their unclaimed funds.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tips for Claiming Abandoned Property From Kiplinger's Personal Finance

The September 2011 issue of Kiplinger's Personal Finance has an article by Michael Stratford that contains some helpful tips on claiming abandoned property.  In addition to the normal advice about checking the NAUPA site and being wary of scams, the article also provides information about unclaimed property (savings bonds, tax refunds, etc.) held by the federal government as well as some tips for claiming property.  . . . . Not to mention some expert advice from a well-known escheat blogger =)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Back From Vacation - Illinois Shortens Payroll Dormancy Periods

Escheatable is back from a short break, and we have (belated) news concerning Illinois' Unclaimed Property Act.  As we mentioned some time ago, the Illinois state legislature approved House Bill 1560.  That bill was signed by the Governor and became law on August 8th. 

Pursuant to that legislation, which takes effect immediately, "unclaimed wages, payroll, and salary, in any form, shall be reported after remaining unclaimed for one year."  Accordingly, this year's Illinois unclaimed property reports will likely include 5 years worth of payroll. 



Thursday, August 4, 2011

Warning About Unclaimed Property Scams (& Some Claiming Tips)

According to Fox 19 in Cincinnati, the Ohio Department of Commerce is warning Ohioans about an unclaimed property scam that is being used to try to trick people into providing bank account and other personal financial information.  To add an element of credibility, the scam emails supposedly come from the Nat'l Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators which is, of course, a real organization of which most states' unclaimed property offices are a member. 

Update:  According to Fox 5 Las Vegas, Nevada State Treasurer Kate Marshall is warning of a similar scam.

Here are some helpful claiming tips:
  • Don't Pay to Search -- States do not charge a fee for allowing you to search for unclaimed funds, or in most cases, even to collect unclaimed funds.
  • Don't Trust Links -- If you receive an email purporting to be from your state unclaimed property office with a link, go to the site directly.  A link to every states' unclaimed property office can be found on the website of the Nat'l Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators.
  • Don't Trust Phone Numbers -- Similarly, don't call the number provided to you in an unsolicited email or voicemail.  Look up (using NAUPA or some other source) the phone number for your state unclaimed property office yourself, and call them directly.
    • Update:  According an article posted by Fox 5 Las Vegas, Nevada is warning that the scam referred to above seeks to trick victims into "call[ing] an international phone number and incur[ing] high fees for the call."
  • Don't Provide Financial Information -- You do not have to provide any financial or bank account information to perform a search or to learn if a state is holding unclaimed funds on your behalf.