Abandoned Property

D. Lawton Associates has more than a decade of experience in the development and implementation of systems to support businesses and state governments in the administration of abandoned property throughout its lifecycle.

Pre-Escheatment Automation
The abandoned property lifecycle starts when you determine that an account or negotiable instrument is inactive or ‘stale’. For example, you may declare that a check you wrote to an account holder is no longer valid after six months. By statute, you need to escheat this property to the appropriate state after some period of time (e.g. 2 years), but what are you going to do with it in the meantime? Aetna established a department which manages this abandoned property, and which accepts claims for these accounts during the period prior to escheatment. DLA developed and implemented a software solution to automate Aetna’s claims process.

Escheatment Automation
At the appropriate time, each account needs to be turned over to the last state of record, after the holder of the account has made a reasonable effort to locate the account owner. The tracking and record keeping requirements can be burdensome, so some holders make use of a service bureau. One of the largest such firms is ACS Unclaimed Property Clearinghouse (originally part of State Street Bank). DLA developed the accounting and administrative software ACS uses to manage the accounts which are turned over to it for escheatment to each of the states.

Custody Automation
Once property has been escheated to a state, the state holds it in custody until a qualified claimant steps forward to receive the property. A qualified claimant needs to submit the appropriate documentation (e.g. the original passbook for a savings account and personal identification) to prove that they are the original owner or that they are otherwise entitled to the property. Once the forms and documentation have been reviewed and approved by the state government, the funds are disbursed to the claimant. DLA developed and implemented systems that were used to process and administer abandoned property claims for property in the following states: New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Connecticut and New York.