Monday, January 4, 2016

Happy New Year - A Look Ahead

Welcome to 2016.  What unclaimed property issues will come up over the next 365 (actually, 366) days?  While you can never be sure, here are some stories that we will be keeping an eye on.

Lawsuits, Lawsuits, Everwhere -- More and more holders are challenging state audit procedures, practices, and results.  The Unclaimed Property Professionals Organization has a great roundup that we needn't repeat here, but cases are pending challenging Delaware's estimation techniques (Temple Inland v. Cook), the legality and use of gift card subsidiaries (French v. Card Compliant), federal preemption (National Freight v. Sidamon-Eristoff), and a variety of other issues.  A decision in any one of these cases could have a significant effect on unclaimed property practices.

Revision to the Uniform Unclaimed Property Act -- The Uniform Law Commission of the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws is continuing its efforts to revise the Uniform Unclaimed Property Act.  For a primer about the who, what, where, when, and why of the revision effort, see our previous post here.  The next meeting of the committee is scheduled for late February in Dallas.

Owner Challenges to State Unclaimed Property Laws -- While the historical justification for the state taking custody of unclaimed property for the rightful owner is the theory that the state "steps into the shoes" of the missing owner, some citizens are beginning to challenge the eagerness with which the state jumps into those shoes (sometimes while they are still being worn).  Lawsuits in Minnesota and Oklahoma are challenging the methods by which the state takes custody of unclaimed property or the actions that the state takes (or doesn't take) to direct those funds to the rightful owner.

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