When I was a boy my grandmother would occasionally write me a check for my birthday, certain
holidays, or for tasks I would help her with around the house. I would put that check in my pocket along
with all the other things a boy might collect and stuff into his pockets. At the end of the day, I would
empty my pockets onto my dresser. Out came baseballs, baseball cards, rolled up tissues, various and
sundry coins, and the check my grandmother had given me. The next day into a clean pair of pants I
would put those tokens necessary to face that day’s activities. Typically, though, that did not include the
check my grandmother had written. My grandmother would wait, and after reviewing the second bank
statement that did not show a cashed check, she would call me asking what had happened to the check.
Now that the fall reporting season for unclaimed property is completed, it’s a good time to review
policies and procedures utilized in the escheatment process. While the state regulates when a due
diligence letter is to be sent to an owner, it may be wise to implement an internal policy regarding
sending a “friendly reminder “to an owner when the check is initially identified as stale. This would serve
as the kind of early reminder my grandmother provided to me. An owner receiving that reminder at 90
days might be significantly more aware of what that unclaimed property is, and much more motivated to
begin a claims process. The probability of finding the owner earlier rather than later in the process also
significantly increases the probability of reuniting the owner with their property.
With the lull between the fall reporting and the spring reporting requirements, it’s easy to put an
escheatment process on the back burner, and not pay attention until again required by the states. This
might be a good time however, to review and document the processes that you use for escheatment and
determine if “Best Practices” are being employed.
A timely, “friendly reminder” might be a very effective way to reengage a customer or employee and not
have to send that money to the state. It worked for my grandmother!