Abandoned and Unclaimed Property Law in Puerto Rico: Potential Impact on Businesses

AuthorFrancisco J. Rodríguez Bernier
PositionAssociate with McConnell Valdés LLC since October of 2008
Pages163-170
163
ABANDONED AND UNCLAIMED PROPERTY LAW IN PUERTO
RICO: POTENTIAL IMPACT ON BUSINESSES
COMMENT
FRANCISCO J. RODRÍGUEZ BERNIER*
I. Introduction ........................................................................................................ 163
II. General Escheat Law in Pue rto Rico ................................................................ 164
III. Escheat Law as Applied in the States ............................................................... 167
IV. Best Practices ...................................................................................................... 169
V. Conclusion .......................................................................................................... 169
I. INTRODUCTION
RECENTLY RESEARCHED AND PREPARED A MEMORANDUM ON WHETHER OUT-
standing checks could be considered abandoned property and whether
their issuer, a non financial institution, was required to report, and sub-
sequently transfer such property to the Office of the Commissioner of Financial
Institutions (the OCFI). This legal question at first seemed odd to me, doesnt
OCFI only regulate financial i nstitutions?
In addition, in order to determine whether non financial institutions have
this obligation in Puerto Rico, the nature of the asset is also relevant. At first,
outstanding checks did not seem to be the type of asset for which their issuers
are required to report and transfer to OCFI. I was skeptical because all business-
es are expected to have outstanding checks at the end of any accounting period
as part of their regular operations.
Based on the research I conducted and a web seminar I attended, named
State Unclaimed Property Laws: Best Practices for Compliance(the Web Semi-
nar),1 I became convinced that this is a subject of importance to general busi-
nesses in Puerto Rico and that there are necessary steps that should be taken by
* Author is an Associate with McConnell Valdés LLC since October of 2008. He was admitted to
the Puerto Rico Bar on February 4, 2009. He is a Certified Public Accountant since 1986 and worked
for KPMG in its Audit Department in the San Juan, Puerto Rico office, with Checkpoint Systems of
Puerto Rico, and with Oracle Corporation in the Caribbean Region and its Latin America Division.
1 American Law Institute | American Bar Association, State Unclaimed Property Laws: Best Prac-
tices for Compliance (Ref. Num.: TSRGC07, performed on October 20, 2009). Seminar was dictated
by Kendall L. Houghton, Esq. from Baker & McKenzie LLP and by Weiyen M. Jonas, Esq. Vice Presi-
dent and Associate General Counsel of FMR LLC Legal Department, Fidelity Investments.
I

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