Category: Lost + Found

Friday Lost + Found: Happy Unclaimed Property Day and California & Kentucky Questions

Kentucky State Treasurer Defends His Post — has an article about Kentucky Treasurer Todd Hollenbach’s defense of the position of State Treasurer.  Although term limits prevent Hollenbach from running again, a according to some candidates for the position of State Treasurer seek to abolish the office – arguing that the various tasks can be handled by other government departments.

California Legislative Analysts’ Office: California Can Do More to Return Unclaimed PropertyThe LA Times is reporting on a release by the California Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) noting a potential conflict between the California Controller’s Office’s obligation to return unclaimed money to California citizens, and the revenue generated by the more than $400 million in revenue that unclaimed funds contribute to the state budget.

February 18 Was Unclaimed Property Day in South CarolinaAccording to WMBF, February 18 was declared “Unclaimed Property Day” in South Carolina by that state’s General Assembly and State Treasurer Curtis Loftis.  To be your own Santa in South Carolina, you can check the Treasury;s “Palmetto Payback” program here.

Friday Lost + Found: Texas Gift Cards, Wisconsin Auction, Delaware Followup

Texas Announces $12M in Unclaimed Gift Cards Available — NBC 5 (Dallas/Fort Worth) is reporting that the Texas State Controller’s office has about $12 million in abandoned gift cards awaiting reclaim at state offices.  The article even has a document from the Controller’s office indicating the businesses that have reported such funds.

Wisconsin Dept. of Revenue Unclaimed Property Auction — People deposit all kinds of stuff in safe deposit boxes — jewelry, stamps, coins, collectibles — and sometimes they abandon them.  That stuff eventually makes its way to state unclaimed property offices.  But what does the state do with those items?  In some cases, the answer is auction the items to the public.  The Wisconsin Department of Revenue is currently running an online auction until January 20.  Items can be viewed and bid upon online.

Delaware Legislation Proposed With Task Force RecommendationsOur last post talked about the recommendations of the Delaware Abandoned Property Task Force and wondered aloud if any action would be taken in response to the group’s recommendations.  Recently, Senate Bill 11 was proposed in the legislature, which would adopt some of the Task Force’s recommendations.

Lost + Found: Safe Depost Boxes in the Land of Enchantment, Another Insurance Settlement

Video on New Mexico’s Unclaimed Property — ‘Tis the season for unclaimed safe deposit boxes.  Albuquerque’s KOAT (ABC) has a short video about the $132 million in cash and property that New Mexico’s unclaimed property regulators have collected from abandoned safe deposit boxes.  The New Mexico Department of Revenue and Taxation suggests that now is the time to determine if some of that property is yours.

Another Life Insurer Settles Unpaid Benefits ClaimsInsuranceNewsNet has the story of another life insurance death master file settlement.  See here for a primer.  The article states that regulators are “turning away from investigations and settlements, and instead focusing on writing legislation that clearly establishes their authority to conduct the settlement.”  Perhaps 2015 will bring such legislation.

Friday Lost + Found: More Insurance Settlements, Illinois Auction, UP in the Mainstream

More Insurance Industry Settlements — According to an article on Insurance News, another life insurer — Sun Life of Canada — has settled claims relating to the alleged “asymmetrical” use of the Social Security “Death Master File.”  Generally, the states allege that insurers actively researched death index information for annuity products (i.e., where the insurer was paying benefits until the policyholder died) but didn’t use the same information to determine when death benefits became payable to beneficiaries.  According to the article, this represents the 18th settlement arising the from the multi-state investigation of life insurers’ unclaimed property practices.

Illinois Unclaimed Property Auction — Looking to do some early holiday shopping?  The Office of the Illinois State Treasurer will be commencing an auction of unclaimed property on Monday.  The Northwest Herald has the details.

Unclaimed Property in the New York Times — For those of us in unclaimed property — a relatively niche practice, to say the least — it’s always a little exciting when UP news makes it to mass media.  (If for no other reason than to prove to our disbelieving family members that such laws exist).  The The New York Times recently had a “Your Money” article by Ron Lieber featuring unclaimed property.

Friday Lost + Found: UPPO Annual Conference & Unclaimed Funds in Cleveland

UPPO Annual Conference Registration Open — The Unclaimed Property Professionals’ Organization is the primary group representing the interests of holders of unclaimed property.  One of UPPO’s most valuable resources is its annual conference, a 3 day event with educational seminars, networking events, and discussions with state administrators and other experts.  This year’s conference will be held from March 23-26 in Grapevine (Dallas) Texas.  Registration information can be found here.

Cuyahoga County Releases List of Unclaimed Funds — State governments are not the only entities that hold unclaimed funds.  As reported by an internal audit of the Cuyahoga County’s Clerk of Courts office identified some $7 million in unclaimed funds owed to residents.  A searchable list is available at the County Clerk’s website.


Lost + Found: Records in New York and Missouri, Oregon Holder Seminar

New York Sets Unclaimed Property Reunification Record . . .  — According to an article in the Auburn Citizen, the New York State Office of Unclaimed Funds returned a record $347 million in unclaimed property during fiscal year 2012-13.  Lest anyone think that the job at OUF is complete, the same article notes that New York still has $12.5 billion in funds waiting to be claimed.

. . . As Does Missouri (Again) — Missouri State Treasurer (and Escheatable guest) Clint Zweifel recently announced that his office also broke the state reunification record by returning more than $39 million in the past year.  The record wasn’t very old – it was broken by the State Treasury last year.

Oregon Holding Holder Education Seminars — All summer, the Oregon Department of State Lands will be hosting holder education seminars for reporters of unclaimed property.  According to the DSL’s website, the half-day seminars will include an overview of the law, determining when and how to report unclaimed property, how to conduct due diligence, and more.  A complete schedule of events is available at the DSL’s website.

Lost + Found: NC Holder Seminar, WV Lawsuits, Bona Vacantia in the UK

North Carolina to Offer Holder Education Seminar — The North Carolina Treasurer’s Department is offering a “Holder Education and Reporting” seminar on July 17th at the Quorum Center in Raleigh.  A complete copy of the agenda, and registration information, can be found here.  The seminar is free, but according to the website, limited to the first 150 registrants.

West Virginia Sues Insurers  — In October of 2012, West Virginia sued 10 insurers over their attempts (or lack thereof) to notify beneficiaries of payable benefits.  Now, according to an article on LifeHealthPro, West Virginia has brought suit against 69 more insurers alleging violations of that state’s unclaimed property act.  According to the article, insurers were identified by market share.

UK Bona Vacantia Pot Doubles in Past Year — As we’ve mentioned before, modern US unclaimed property laws have their source in the old common law doctrine of bona vacantia (“ownerless goods”).  Historically, the most typical example of such goods are the assets of a person who dies without a will or any known heirs.  In the UK, this common law doctrine is still alive and well.
Indeed, almost too well – according to a recent blog post on the UK edition of the Huffington Post, the mount of funds held on account of estates with no wills or known heirs in the UK has doubled in the past year to about 33.5 million Pounds (appx. $51.2 million). 

Friday Lost + Found: Virginia’s Billion, Wyoming’s Scam Warning

Big Numbers Out of Virginia — The Virginian-Pilot has an article about an unclaimed property auction currently being hosted by the Virginia Department of Treasury.  Feel free to check it out if you are so inclined.  However, what caught our attention here was the passing reference to how much unclaimed property is currently being held by Virginia:  according to the article, “more than $1 billion is waiting to be claimed.”  (That’s right, with a “B”). 

Wyoming Warns of Unclaimed Property Scam — Along those same lines, when there is such a huge pot of money waiting to be claimed, it should come as no surprise that there are people out there who are trying to see if they can get a slice of it, honestly or not.  The Wyoming State Treasurer’s Office recently warned residents of a scam whereby so called “finders” identify potential claimants, and contact them, asking for personal information and offering to “help” them reclaim their money for a fee of up to 50% of the value of the property.  Not only is that fee unscrupulous, but the disclosure of personal information subjects the claimant to an increased risk of identity theft.  We’ve discussed finders before in this space, and while we will forgo the discussion of the relative risks and benefits of finders for today, suffice it to say that 50% is too much.

Friday Lost + Found: Kenya Delays, Steel City Funds, Colorado Small Business Exemption

Kenyan Unclaimed Assets Authority Ordered to Get to Work and Consider How to Use Funds — The full scale implementation of a Uniform Act style unclaimed property act is apparently still slow going in Kenya.  According to Kenya’s Standard Digital News website, the Unclaimed Financial Assets Authority — the government entity created by the new law — has been ordered by the High Court to hold its initial meeting and commence work.  This is after earlier delays caused by problems in finding members for the Authority.  Separately, Business Daily Africa is reporting that Kenya’s Higher Education Loans Board is negotiating with the UFAA to see if the funds taken in under the unclaimed property act can be used to fund certain higher education expenses, similar to what is done in some U.S. states.

Pittsburgh Unclaimed Funds — As we’ve mentioned a few times, cities are also often in possession of unclaimed funds for their residents.  Recently, WPXI in Pittsburgh posted an article that includes a listing of unclaimed property held by the Steel City for its residents.

Colorado Gift Card Exemption For Small Issuers — On March 15, Colorado’s Governor signed House Bill 13-1102 into law.  The law exempts from the Colorado Unclaimed Property Act unclaimed gift cards held by an issuer that sells less than $200,000 of gift cards per year.


Lost + Found: Unclaimed Celeb & Politico Cash; Badger Boxes

Unclaimed Money in Hollywood . . . — NBC Dateline posted a short video discussing unclaimed funds being held for Hollywood notables and other celebrities.  NBC’s Tamron Hall caught up with Joan Rivers to let her know in person.  Julia Roberts, Jodie Foster, John Travolta, Katie Holmes and others are on the list.

. . . And in Washington — According to PC Magazine President Obama also has money waiting for him as unclaimed property.

A look inside Wisconsin’s Unclaimed Safe Deposit Boxes — Fox 11 (Green Bay, Wisconsin) has an entertaining article about what residents of the Badger State are keeping in their unclaimed safe deposit boxes.  Just the normal stuff — spoons, pearl undergarments, bricks of cocaine . . . .