Possible Revisions to the Uniform Unclaimed Property Act

Christa DeOliveira Christa DeOliveira, CIA, CCEP

By now you may have heard the Uniform Law Commission's (ULC) Executive Committee has authorized the appointment of a new Study Committee for amending or revising the Uniform Unclaimed Property Act (UUPA). This does not come as a surprise as there have been rumblings about the need/desire for revisions for a few years now.

Some background on the UUPA is noted on the ULC’s website, http://www.uniformlaws.org/NewsDetail.aspx?title=New%20Study%20Committee%20on%20Uniform%20Unclaimed%20Property%20Act, “The ULC first drafted uniform state legislation on unclaimed property in 1954, when it promulgated the Uniform Disposition of Unclaimed Property Act. The Uniform Unclaimed Property Act (UUPA) was approved in 1981, which substantially revised the 1954 version. The 1981 act was again revised in 1995.” Most states have enacted one or more of the versions of the UUPA, although the 1995 version has actually been enacted in only 16 states. More commonly, the 1981 version has been enacted in 29 states. The timing on this makes it about two decades since the 1995 UUPA and a little more than three decades since the 1981 UUPA were promulgated.

In the last two to three decades we have had numerous different technological and payment option advances. For example, it is now common for banking transactions to be conducted online, at an ATM, by phone using a Voice Response Unit (VRU), obtaining cash back at an authorized point of sale, by authorizing payroll direct deposit, and, of course, the traditional method of a transaction at a bricks and mortar branch. We now have electronic signatures, PIN authorized transactions, customers and business communicating with each other by email, making online purchases, and much expanded communication by electronic data interchange (EDI), etc. Even the ubiquitous gift card is a newer payment option, in addition to reloadable debit cards and their broad uses such as payroll, expense reimbursement, payment of commissions, etc. All of these changes and others are so pervasive and have so fundamentally shifted the ways that we conduct business that older versions of the UUPA leave a lot of unanswered questions on the treatment of modern methods of business and payment instruments.

Once appointed, the committee will be interesting to follow … and rest assured any information, news, and proposed revisions made by the committee will be closely followed. There will be particular interest in whether the committee will advise amendments to current acts or rather create a more robust revision of the UUPA. Subsequently, it will also be interesting to see if states move to adopt any amendments or a revised UUPA and specific individual amendments that are bound to occur at the state level.

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