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S.158

AN ACT RELATING TO THE DISPOSITION OF UNCLAIMED PROPERTY BY THE STATE

The House proposes to the Senate to amend the bill as follows:

First:  In Sec. 1, 27 V.S.A. § 1241(2), after “assist” by inserting “for compensation

Second:  In Sec. 1, 27 V.S.A. § 1248, by striking subsection (e) in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new subsection (e) as follows:

(e)  A holder may deduct from that property a charge imposed by reason of the owner’s failure to claim the property within a specified time only if there is a valid and enforceable written contract between the holder and the owner under which the holder may impose the charge and the holder regularly imposes the charge, which is not regularly reversed or otherwise cancelled.  The amount of the charge shall be limited to an amount that is not unconscionable.

Third:  In Sec. 1, 27 V.S.A. § 1265, by striking subsections (b), (c) and (e) in their entirety and inserting in lieu thereof new subsections (b), (c) and (e) as follows:

(b)  An agreement between an owner and an asset locator, the primary purpose of which is to locate, deliver, recover or assist in the recovery of property that is presumed abandoned, shall be void and unenforceable if it was entered into during the period commencing on the date the property was presumed abandoned and extending to a time that is 24 months after the date the property is paid or delivered to the treasurer.  This subsection shall not apply to an agreement between an owner and a Vermont licensed attorney to file a claim as to identified property or contest the treasurer’s denial of a claim.

(c)  An agreement between an owner and an asset locator, the primary purpose of which is to locate, deliver, recover or assist in the recovery of property that is presumed abandoned, shall be enforceable only if the agreement is in writing in a form acceptable to the treasurer, clearly sets forth the nature of the property and the services to be rendered, is signed by the apparent owner, and states the value of the property before and after the fee or other compensation has been deducted.

(e)  An agreement between an owner and an asset locator, the primary purpose of which is to locate, deliver, recover or assist in the recovery of property that is presumed abandoned and that provides for compensation that exceeds 10 percent of the value of the unclaimed property, shall be unenforceable.

Fourth:  In Sec. 1, Title 27, by striking § 1270 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new § 1270 as follows:

§ 1270.  DECEASED OWNERS; MULTIPLE CLAIMANTS

(a)  If the treasurer holds unclaimed property in the name of a deceased owner, the treasurer may deliver the property as follows:

(1)  In the case of an open estate, to the administrator or executor.

(2)  In the case of a closed estate and the unclaimed property is valued at less than $2,500.00, in accordance with the probate court decree of distribution.

(3)  In the absence of an open estate or probate court decree of distribution, and the unclaimed property is valued at less than $2,500.00 to the surviving spouse of the deceased owner, or, if there is no surviving spouse, then to the next of kin according to section 551 of Title 14.

(4)  In all other cases where the treasurer holds property in the name of a deceased owner, a probate estate shall be opened by the claimant, or other interested party, in order to determine the appropriate distribution of the unclaimed property.  Where an estate is opened solely to distribute unclaimed property under this section, the probate court may waive any filing fees.

(b)  If the treasurer holds unclaimed property valued at $100.00 or less which more than one person owns, the treasurer may deliver the property as follows:

(1)  If the property has been listed on the treasurer’s website for less than one year, a proportionate share to each of the persons who owns the property and who files a claim.

(2)  If the property has been listed on the treasurer’s website for a year or more, to the first person who files a claim and who owns at least a share of the property.

Fifth:  By adding a Sec. 2a as follows:

Sec. 2a.  SUNSET; REPORT

(a)  27 V.S.A. § 1270(b) (multiple claimants of unclaimed property valued at $100.00 or less) shall be repealed on July 1, 2009.

(b)  On or before, January 15, 2009, the state treasurer shall file a report with the House and Senate committees on government operations which describes the unclaimed property division’s experience with the operation of 27 V.S.A. § 1270(b) and which recommends whether this subsection should be made permanent or should be repealed.

 

 



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us