Maine: New Unclaimed Property Law Enacted

On June 27, 2019, Gov. Janet Mills signed Senate Bill 481 (LD 1544), effective 10/01/19, which repeals the existing ME unclaimed property law and replaces it with a modified version of the 2016 Uniform Unclaimed Property Act.

Podcast Transcript

On June 27, 2019, Governor Janet Mills signed  Senate Bill 481 (LD 1544), effective October 1, 2019, which repeals the existing Maine unclaimed property law and replaces it with a modified version of the 2016 Uniform Unclaimed Property Act. This change will first affect a business’s unclaimed property due diligence and reporting obligations in fall 2020.   

The new law revamps how “gift obligations” and “stored value cards” (“SVO”) are defined.  Gift obligations are defined as a record that cannot be converted into money that also evidences a business’s obligation to provide goods or services to a consumer at a future date for a specified amount. An SVO is defined as a record evidencing a promise made for consideration by the seller or issuer of the record that goods, services or money will be provided to the owner in the amount shown in the record. Further, Maine’s new provisions for SVOs bifurcates unclaimed property treatment and dormancy periods depending upon whether the SVO is activated or inactivated.

Loyalty and gift obligations and game-related digital content are excluded from definition of SVO and are effectively excluded from the definition of “property”. 

Other significant changes are:

  • Payroll cards are defined and assigned a three-year dormancy period.
  • Individual retirement arrangements (“IRA”) triggers are expanded and death confirmation is mandated. Electronic outreach to IRA owners is required if the business holding the property does not send communications to the owner via first class U.S. mail at least on an annual basis.
  • Automatically renewable time deposits are assigned a new rollover standard.
  • Owner pre-authorized automatic withdrawals or deposits into financial institution accounts (including automatic reinvestment of dividends or interest) are deemed an “indication of interest” sufficient to forestall escheatment.
  • Record retention timing is modified. The types of records to be maintained are specified and include records for some items that are not reportable property.
  • Additional audit-related powers (including administrative subpoena) are granted the unclaimed property administrator.
  • Release of liability for the reporting business is made contingent on performing certain outreach to property owners in accordance with revised standards contained in the new law. 

For more information about these requirements, please contact: Nina Renda at 973-912-6528 or Marion Acord at 404-222-3053.

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