Fall 2003-04 Amendments to laws dealing with unclaimed funds
Amendments to laws dealing with unclaimed funds
Two new laws-Law No. 226 of August 3, 2003, and Law No. 234 of September 2, 2003, strive to close loopholes regarding unclaimed funds and liquid assets.
Two separate Puerto Rico laws deal with the subject of unclaimed funds, checks, securities and similar items (“liquid assets”): section 37(a) of the Bank Act (Law No. 55 of May 12, 1933) and Law No. 36 of July 28, 1989.
Both of these statutes order their delivery to the Commissioner of Financial Institutions after publishing newspaper ads. The Commissioner, in turn, is to forward them to the Secretary of the Treasury. The problem faced by the Commissioner has been what to do with items that are not cash.
These two laws close the hiatus by authorizing the Commissioner to sell, redeem or otherwise dispose of the item within two years of receiving it, and remitting the proceeds to the Secretary.
Any person who claims title to funds or items delivered to the Commissioner may recover them during a period of ten years following said delivery. Should the Commissioner rule against the claim, the claimant may appeal to the courts.
For purposes of these laws, funds and other liquid assets in possession of financial institutions are deemed to have been abandoned if they remain unclaimed for a period of five years.