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Showing posts from February, 2012

States Continue to Use One-Time Tricks to Increase Revenue

Earlier, we looked at a Washington State proposal to increase revenue by selling unclaimed securities upon receipt (instead of waiting at least three years, as under prior law).  As we mentioned at the time, this procedure could wind up being detrimental to the owners of unclaimed property -- given the flux in the financial markets at any given time, it is quite possible that the securities will be worth more in 3 years.  Of course, the state is not following this procedure to protect holders, it is doing so to raise revenue.  On that score, it has been successful.  According to PubliCola.com , this measure has increased revenue by some $51 million.  The News Tribune posted a "Twitter Version" of the Washington State Legislature's revenue forecast meeting which notes that, during the meeting it was noted that "[m]ost of $96 m increase in [state] revenue is non-economic, due to December law regarding when unclaimed property can be sold (HB 2169)." I

Lost & Found: A Report from Pennsylvania, A Request From Montana, & Progress in Wisconsin

Pennsylvania Treasurer Reports on Unclaimed Property Collections -- Pennsylvania State Treasurer Rob McCord has released his most recent quarterly report on the Keystone State's finances.  According to that report, Pennsylvania brought in more than $200 million in unclaimed property "revenue" to the Commonwealth in 2011. Montana Makes Negative Report Request -- Some states have a requirement that a holder send a report every year -- even if the holder has no property to deliver to the state.  These are called "negative" or "zero" reports.  According to a press release listed on the website of the  UPPO, Montana has clarified its negative report process.   More information is available on the UPPO website, but essentially Montana has clarified that a holder need not send a negative report if the holder has never before reported or remitted property to Montana. Wisconsin Legislation Makes Progress -- The  blog of the Wisconsin State Treasurer ha

UPPO National Conference in Orlando, Florida

Coming up on March 11-14 is the  Unclaimed Property Professionals' Organization Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida.  Join your fellow unclaimed property professionals for 3 days of unclaimed property classes, contacts and information. Regardless of your specific interests or level of expertise, there is something for everyone.  Basic, intermediate and advanced courses are being offered. There will also be a state administrator open forum, industry-specific breakout groups, and networking events. The UPPO is probably the most well-known and active organization committed to representing the holders of unclaimed property.  Along with the annual conference, the UPPO offers other educational opportunities, webinars, networking events, contacts with state officials, and other invaluable opportunities for unclaimed property professionals.  Whether you are new to the field of unclaimed property and looking for help with the basics, or a seasoned veteran looking to expand y

Concerns Raised About Michigan Unclaimed Property Practices

Until the end of last month, Michigan was offering a voluntary compliance program for holders to come into compliance with the Michigan Unclaimed Property Act.  That amnesty program was just the latest effort by Michigan to bring more unclaimed funds into the state's custody.  Earlier last year, Michigan significantly overhauled its unclaimed property laws, changing most dormancy periods from 5 years to three years.  As we explained when the bill was proposed, the Michigan Legislature expected these changes to increase state revenue by more than $200 million over the next to years. It seems, however, that not everyone is happy with Michigan's aggressive unclaimed property collection.  For example, the State Bar of Michigan recently sent a letter to the state Treasury Department that was critical of the terms of the state's notices to holders in connection with the amnesty program.  Similarly, the National Federation of Independent Businesses is lobbying against Michig

Lost & Found (f/k/a Unclaimed Property News Roundup)

Given that we're not cowboys, we've decided to rename our regular "news roundup" feature "Lost & Found" (which has more of an unclaimed property feel).  In any event, here is this week's version: Nevada State Treasurer Marshall Elected NAST President -- According to a press release from the National Association of State Treasurers (NAST), Nevada State Treasurer Kate Marshall was elected the 2012 NAST president.  While the NAST presidency is no doubt the highest position, special recognition should also go to Utah Treasurer Richard Ellis who was elected Treasurer of the National Association of State Treasurers (kind of a Super-Treasurer).  NAST is important from an unclaimed property perspective because state unclaimed property divisions are generally housed within the State Treasurer's Office.  The National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators is a NAST affiliate. Celebrities - They're Just Like Us! (Unclaimed Property V

"But I'm Not Dead Yet": Congress Raises Concerns About the "Death Master File"

Every day seems to bring more news relating to the multi-state investigation into the unclaimed property practices of life insurers .  Most recently, an enterprising asset recovery firm brought a lawsuit against Prudential and MetLife claiming that those firms' unclaimed property practices have cost the State of Illinois millions of dollars.  Similarly, in the mutli-state examination, unclaimed property regulators have alleged that many insurers reviewed certain Social Security files to determine when to stop paying annuities (which are paid by an insurer until someone dies) but were not using that same information to determine when life insurance proceeds should be paid to the deceased's beneficiaries. Central to this investigation is the so-called "Death Master File" , sometimes called the Social Security Death Index (SSDI), which is a listing of all deaths reported to the U.S. Social Security Administration.  Regulators have pushed to make sure that insurers