As fiduciaries and other holders of unclaimed assets know, complying with state escheat (abandoned property) laws is complex and costly.
The last-known residence of the owner or payee of the assets determines which states escheat laws apply. Each state in the U.S. differs in what specific abandoned properties are covered, dormancy periods, reporting dates, reporting and payment requirements, etc. For a reference list of links to each state's abandoned property statutes and legislative homepages, click here.
There can be substantial costs in complying with these diverse requirements. Merely to stay informed requires legal advice, plus it costs time and money to gather information and then prepare and file reports. And if you are a corporation with missing shareholders, like many corporations you may be escheating dividends only (not the underlying shares themselves) and may be facing a seemingly endless reporting task and be required to file dozens of different reports each year.
Moreover, many states today, in their desperate search for new revenues, are zeroing in on abandoned property and becoming more aggressive in enforcing their escheat laws. They are broadening definitions, reducing time limits, and deploying more and more audit teams in the field.
Escheat can sometimes lead to unhappy owners. Occasionally, after you properly turn over the dormant holdings to the various states, some owners turn up and ask for their assets. When these legitimate owners are referred to the states for their property, they often encounter bureaucratic roadblocks and lengthy delays. Understandably, these owners become displeased.
Greenwich Research understands that you would prefer the rightful owners to be united with their assets in a way that saves you time and expense. Please visit our Cost & Fees page for an explanation of our unique fee structure that can unite owners with their assets at no cost to you.
In most cases, holders and fiduciaries pay nothing for our services-our fees come from the located owners, heirs, beneficiaries and creditors entitled to the dormant accounts being recovered.
"Your firm was able to locate more than 96 percent of these missing heirs, some of whom hadn't been heard from in as long as 15 years. We were delighted, finally, to be able to pay all the life insurance and pension benefits due them."
Looking for services we offer individuals seeking to claim inheritances or other lost assets?