Unclaimed Property

When fairly and appropriately enforced, state unclaimed property laws reunite rightful owners with their property. These laws, however, require companies to transfer any money or property deemed abandoned after a certain period of inactivity to state treasuries, which has resulted in abusive audits and litigation against well-meaning companies.  Read More...

Current unclaimed property laws have led to states viewing unclaimed property as a potential revenue source, and property administrators are increasingly relying on private audit firms to collect property in exchange for a percentage of the proceeds. The use of profit-motivated contingency-fee firms creates significant risks for abuse and overreach. While life insurance companies were an initial target, private audit firms are now expanding their aggressive enforcement tactics to other industries and financial products, including the mutual fund industry, property and casualty insurers, broker-dealers, and retailers and restaurants that issue gift cards.

ILR works to promote a number of “best practices” that would ensure private audit firms acting on behalf of unclaimed property administrators are subject to appropriate oversight and accountability.


Suggested Resources


All Results for Unclaimed Property

  1. In the News Today - December 7, 2017

    December 07, 2017 | News

    7th Circ. Wary Of Reviving Barnes & Noble Breach Action; 3rd Circuit says Marathon can challenge Delaware law later... Read More

  2. In the News Today - May 8, 2017

    May 08, 2017 | News and Blog

    Delaware's new unclaimed property rules fail to meet the standards of the August federal court ruling they were drafted to address, writes the Council on State Taxation in a letter to the state's Department of Finance. The Council argues the proposed rules violate the federal ruling "by failing to use the last known address of the last known property owner to determine which state has a priority claim."... Read More

  3. The ILR Research Review - Fall 2016

    September 22, 2016 | Research

    This edition of the ILR Research Review offers valuable insights from ILR's latest research on over-criminalization and the challenges of business compliance, over-enforcement, third-party litigation funding in the UK, and asbestos trust claims.... Read More

  4. In the News Today - August 26, 2016

    August 26, 2016 | News and Blog

    The CFPB "has closed its eyes to the inevitable real-world consequence of its proposed rule: the elimination of arbitration, which would leave consumers without any means of redressing the injuries they most often suffer," wrote David Hirschmann, president of the Chamber's Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness, and Lisa Rickard, president of the Chamber's Institute for Legal Reform. ... Read More

  5. In the News Today - August 25, 2016

    August 25, 2016 | News and Blog

    Harold Kim, executive vice president of the Institute for Legal Reform, spoke with the Sangamon Sun regarding the nationwide concern caused by unclaimed-property audits.... Read More

  6. ILR Urges Illinois Governor to Veto Unclaimed Property Bill

    August 03, 2016 | News and Blog

    The Sangamon Sun, which covers the Springfield, IL region, reported on a letter sent by ILR Executive Vice President Harold Kim to Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, asking the governor to veto the Unclaimed Life Insurance Benefits Act (HB 4633). ... Read More

  7. Enforcement Gone Amok: The Many Faces of Over-Enforcement in the United States

    May 26, 2016 | Research

    This paper documents compelling examples of over-enforcement abuses, and offers details of the wide-ranging and interrelated ways government enforcement actions impact American businesses.... Read More

  8. In the News Today - May 16, 2016

    May 16, 2016 | News and Blog

    WSJ Notes ILR Opposition to Third Party Litigation Funding: In an article spotlighting the growth of larger investors, such as pension funds, in third party litigation funding, the Wall Street Journal notes that, litigation funders have faced a few consistent opponents, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for Legal Reform, which argues that it prompts unnecessary litigation. ... Read More

  9. Rogue State Treasurer Rewriting the Law for a Private Auditor's Gain

    November 09, 2015 | News and Blog

    In a massive overreach of authority, the Illinois state treasurer has superseded state law by imposing new standards on how life insurance policies are paid out, and in the process, may fundamentally change the role the state plays in the life insurance industry.... Read More

  10. In the News Today - October 19, 2015

    October 19, 2015 | News and Blog

    The Associated Press this weekend spotlighted the "increasingly aggressive" tactics of state governments to track down unclaimed property. Thanks to these aggressive tactics, a startup by two medical researchers who developed a Hepatitis B treatment was forced to sue the state of Delaware when the state aggressively took control of $1.7 million of the company's stock. The company took a big loss in the process. (Associated Press)... Read More