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Greg VerMulm

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7/11/16 11:12 AM

No Coasting through California Bifurcated Reporting

Filers of abandoned and unclaimed property in the state of California have to manage an extra influx of responses from owners as a result of due diligence efforts of both holder companies and the State of California. This task is thought to be a bit more robust and demanding in California than in other states, because California is the only state that still has a dual or bifurcated reporting process—and double due diligence.

As late as the 1980s, many states required this type of double reporting of abandoned and unclaimed property. Holders had to report their unclaimed property, then complete due diligence. Any properties returned to their rightful owners were deducted from the unclaimed property report and a final report was filed, along with appropriate remittances.

Most states moved away from the dual reporting process due to the administrative burden it put on unclaimed property holders. However, after class action lawsuits claimed the California unclaimed property program was being operated unconstitutionally, the state controller put new procedures in place, returning to the bifurcated reporting of previous years.

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Topics: California

6/9/16 10:00 AM

Why Some Unclaimed Property Legislation Doesn’t Pass

Regardless of the landscape-changing unclaimed property legislation that has been passed in the last couple of years in many states, certain legislative bills related to unclaimed property are not passing, which is a bit of a surprise. What exactly is going on?

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Topics: U.P. Law

6/3/16 5:03 PM

Unclaimed Property Policies: You Know They’re Working When Nobody Notices


Unclaimed property tends to lie below the surface within a company’s day-to-day operations—until it doesn’t. And then suddenly, because things have gone wrong, abandoned and unclaimed property can become highly visible.

It takes confident action to keep unclaimed property from being noticed 

In many organizations, unclaimed property has been a second thought for a number of years, and coming into compliance can require a substantial investment of time and resources. The situation is even more challenging if a company doesn’t have in-house staff experienced in unclaimed property management.

One of the greatest challenges is managing surges of escheatment work that can interfere with other tasks. Every state has different laws, and they change frequently. It takes time to keep up with the changes and follow them. Some states are very aggressive in enforcement (often with help from third-party contingent-fee auditors).

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Topics: Recordkeeping, Best Practices

5/19/16 5:06 PM

Where Do States Receive Authority to Enact Abandoned and Unclaimed Property Laws?

If you believe state unclaimed property laws are backed by federal law, you would be in good company. When someone first becomes involved in unclaimed property, it’s common to assume the protection of property owners would be something the federal government would want to govern.

In fact, the precursor to modern unclaimed property laws—English Common Law—was all about the rights of the kingdom to claim abandoned property. But if you believe there is federal law backing state unclaimed property laws, you would be wrong. The United States federal government hasn’t passed unclaimed property laws.

Question: If that’s the case, then where does state jurisdiction in this matter come from?

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Topics: ULC, U.P. Law

5/16/16 10:00 AM

Pennsylvania Abandoned and Unclaimed Property Auditors Focus Efforts on Equities

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania recently hired unclaimed property auditors, Kelmar Associates, to conduct unclaimed property audits of publicly held companies. Specifically, the audit company has been asked to audit transfer agents to identify unclaimed shares belonging to Pennsylvania residents.

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Topics: Reporting, Pennsylvania

5/9/16 10:00 AM

How to Keep Voided Checks from Becoming an Unclaimed Property Liability

In an unclaimed property audit, your assigned auditor will be looking for clues that might indicate pockets of unclaimed property—in many cases, processes your organization has not thoroughly cleared of stale dated items. Voided checks are one of the trails auditors commonly follow to find indications that you may not be processing stale dated items correctly.

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Topics: Audit

4/29/16 9:54 AM

What’s the Latest in Unclaimed Property Legislation?

Abandoned and unclaimed property legislation is evolving rapidly as holder companies take a stand against what they believe is overreaching enforcement by auditors and states. States continue to press the boundaries of the law to protect the rights of consumers.

MarketSphere keeps an eye on current developments in unclaimed property law and the way the laws affect our clients. In the last year, we have seen a flurry of legislative adjustments related to contingent fee auditors—an area of great concern to holders, who believe the condition of contingent fees creates incentive for auditors to unfairly assess past due amounts. Other legislation of note is related to the overall audit process, due diligence and Delaware’s new VDA and audit manual.

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Topics: Delaware, Massachusetts, Michigan, Hawaii, U.P. Law

4/25/16 12:29 PM

Dispelling the Myths of Unclaimed Property Audits

When someone suddenly is told they are going to be in charge of this mysterious thing called “unclaimed property and escheatment,” the first thing they may do is ask around to find out what it’s all about. And the answers they get may incite fear and loathing. If you don’t do it right, it could cost the company big-time! People have been fired over unclaimed property mistakes! Wait until you have to deal with more than 50 different sets of laws!

But the one thing that can really make a newbie’s blood run cold is the thought of having to manage an unclaimed property audit. There are horror stories of audits that have lasted more than five years. You’ll hear about requests for an inordinate number of records and extreme assessments. When people talk about their audit experiences, they roll their eyes and sigh and shake their heads.

True…unclaimed property audits sometimes do last a long time, and they can be complicated. They are not for the faint of heart. But it’s good to bring down the high pitch to a realistic level. Some of the stories are not true…and some are only true in certain circumstances.

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4/14/16 2:50 PM

Unclaimed Property: The Right Path & The Wrong Path

To get on the right path toward success in anything, it helps to look at the successes and failures of others. These two stories from our own compliance playbook represent functions that are some of the most important in the management of unclaimed property compliance to make compliance (almost) foolproof: knowledge of compliance, secure and accurate data management, efficient resource allocation, and collaboration.

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Topics: Compliance

4/7/16 10:19 AM

Updated RUUPA: What’s Next in Unclaimed Property Law?

Highlights of ULC Discussion at UPPO

In February, the Uniform Law Commission submitted a new draft of the Revised Uniform Unclaimed Property Act (RUUPA) after months of discussing, negotiating and adjusting. As with other drafts, this version of the RUUPA was prepared after receiving input from unclaimed property stakeholders across the industry.

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Topics: ULC, gift cards