Unclaimed property laws and states' enforcement actions warrant considered and timely consideration and protective action. Companies that have endured an unclaimed property audit have learned that indifference to these laws and their enforcement can constitute a significant threat to the bottom line.

The area of unclaimed property has its roots in old English common law. Land that was abandoned, usually as a result of the landowner's death, would revert or "escheat" to the King. Not surprisingly, this doctrine generated great wealth for the Crown. Fast forward hundreds of years and across the Atlantic to the United States and see this "system" alive and well within individual state governments. Following in the footsteps of English royalty, the states have discovered a new source of wealth for their depleted coffers.

Today, the property in question is not land but "intangible" property, including: unclaimed life insurance benefits, accounts receivable, dividends and employee benefit plans, uncashed checks, un-invoiced receipts, gift cards, and merchandise credits. Essentially, any type of property that can be assigned a dollar value is subject to the states' enforcement of unclaimed property laws. States conduct audits to ensure enforcement of the unclaimed property laws and employ third party contingent fee auditors, who collect ten to twelve percent of the money remitted to the states. Thus, typical audits now comprise: aggressive auditing methodologies, burdensome document and data requests, unreasonable and accelerated timelines, and a protracted audit period.

Given the unique and obscure nature of unclaimed property law, companies have a limited number of sources available to assist with their unclaimed property matters. While some law firms profess unclaimed property expertise, Glazier Yee is the only law firm in the Country with a partner dedicated solely to the unclaimed property practice. Glazier Yee's unique structure allows our firm quickly to assess a company's level of compliance and potential audit exposure.

No two industries are exactly alike, and no two companies' unclaimed property issues are identical. At Glazier Yee, we have worked unclaimed property matters across the spectrum of business sectors, including: insurance, healthcare, banking and investment, high tech, manufacturing, wholesale distribution, oil and gas, and retail and financial services. Our experience also spans all facets of unclaimed property. We assist clients with audit defense, implementation of compliance processes and procedures, voluntary disclosure agreements, state negotiations, unclaimed property planning and structuring, and gift card and electronic payments restructuring.

Glazier Yee's unclaimed property practice leader, based in Atlanta, Georgia, brings nearly twenty years of unclaimed property expertise to the table. As a result, we are uniquely positioned effectively and efficiently to provide all aspects of unclaimed property compliance and audit counseling and defense.