Unclaimed Property

Morris Nichols’ Unclaimed Property Counseling Group has advised numerous holders, including Fortune 500 companies, on the various issues arising from compliance with state unclaimed property laws, with a particular focus on defending audits conducted by the State of Delaware and its contract auditors as well as completing voluntary compliance agreements on a multistate basis.  Our attorneys have played an integral role in drafting amendments to Delaware’s unclaimed property statutes and Delaware Division of Revenue regulations regarding unclaimed property and audit procedures and voluntary disclosure procedures for holders.  We offer extemsive knowledge for holders of unclaimed property seeking to appeal audit findings under Delaware’s new administrative review process, which was established by legislation that Morris Nichols’ attorneys also helped draft.

Attorneys

Representative Matters

  • Engaged by numerous Fortune 500 companies, including manufacturing, insurance, healthcare, oil and gas, and retail companies, under audit by contract auditors on behalf of Delaware and other states.
  • Negotiated a comprehensive audit settlement for a Fortune 500 pharmaceutical company.
  • Helped resolve a “broken” voluntary disclosure process, resulting in a comprehensive settlement and avoiding a conventional examination by a contract auditor, for a Fortune 1000 manufacturer.

News

Michael Houghton Quoted in The News Journal on Multi-State Unclaimed Property Lawsuit Against Delaware in the United States Supreme Court

A coalition of states has filed a lawsuit against Delaware challenging the state’s collection of more than $150 million of unclaimed money orders in the United States Supreme Court. Morris Nichols partner Michael Houghton spoke with The News Journal regarding potential effects for the First State in the article entitled, “Money Order Lawsuit... Continue Reading

Michael Houghton Quoted in The News Journal on SCOTUS Unclaimed Property Opinion

Morris Nichols partner Michael Houghton spoke with The News Journal about a recent U.S. Supreme Court discussion on unclaimed property which cited Delaware as an example of concerns with unclaimed property owner notifications.  Mike has advised Fortune 500 companies and others on unclaimed property issues for more than 25 years and is a member of... Continue Reading

Michael Houghton Quoted in BNA Weekly State Tax Report on Unclaimed Property Lawsuit

Morris Nichols partner Michael Houghton contributed comments to the BNA Weekly State Tax Report article entitled “Pennsylvania Sues Delaware, MoneyGram for $10.3 Million in Uncashed Checks.” Mike has advised Fortune 500 companies and others on unclaimed property issues for more than 25 years and told Bloomberg BNA the case is “extremely... Continue Reading

Michael Houghton Quoted in BNA Weekly State Tax Report’s 2016 Legislative Preview on Unclaimed Property in Delaware

Morris Nichols partner Michael Houghton contributed comments to the BNA Weekly State Tax Report article entitled “Unclaimed Property, New Revenue, in Focus in Delaware: Legislative Preview.”  He noted that unclaimed property is the third-largest revenue source for Delaware and commented that some of the state’s unclaimed property laws are... Continue Reading

Michael Houghton Quoted in BNA’s Daily Tax Report on Delaware Unclaimed Property Reform

Morris Nichols partner Michael Houghton was quoted in the BNA Daily Tax Report article entitled “Delaware Governor Signs Legislation to Overhaul Unclaimed Property Program.” He explains that the new law, signed by Delaware Gov. Jack Markell on July 22, 2015, implements two “earth-moving” changes—new and shorter audit... Continue Reading

Mike Houghton quoted in Delaware Law Weekly regarding Delaware's enactment of the Uniform Law Commission version of the Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act

There have been a series of recent articles in The Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and other national news outlets discussing Delaware’s leadership in enacting legislation designed to provide fiduciaries with access to the online accounts and digital content belonging to individuals who have died or become incapacitated, access which... Continue Reading

Delaware's Unclaimed Property Program and It's Impact on Delaware's Reputation in the National Business Community

Wilmington, DE (May 20, 2014) – Michael Houghton, a Morris Nichols Commercial Law Counseling Group partner and member of the firm’s Executive Committee, was recently quoted in the News Journal article titled, “State Clashes Over Money with Businesses it Courts.”  The article discussed Delaware’s abandoned property... Continue Reading

Michael Houghton, Walter Tuthill, Author Unclaimed Property Treatise for BNA Corporate Practice Series

Wilmington, DE (January 24, 2014) – Michael Houghton and Walter Tuthill, Morris Nichols Commercial Law Counseling Group partners, served as co-authors of the revised Bureau of National Affairs (BNA) Corporate Practice Series Portfolio: Unclaimed Property. The treatise provides a comprehensive analysis of the law of unclaimed property and taps... Continue Reading

Michael Houghton Elected President of The National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws

Wilmington, DE (July 13, 2011) – Morris Nichols banking, regulatory and commercial law counseling partner and Best Lawyers 2009 Delaware Banking Lawyer of the Year Michael Houghton has been elected President of The National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (Uniform Law Commission (ULC)).  The two-year appointment was... Continue Reading

Michael Houghton Quoted in Delaware Law Weekly: Provides Perspective on Delaware's Changes to Its Unclaimed Property Statute

Wilmington, DE – August 11, 2010 – Michael Houghton, Morris Nichols banking, regulatory and Commercial Law Counseling Group partner and Best Lawyers’ 2009 Banking Lawyer of the Year was quoted in the lead article Revamped Law on Unclaimed Property Seeks New Balance published today in Delaware Law Weekly. The article reviews the... Continue Reading

Michael Houghton Quoted in Corporate Counsel Weekly on Delaware Supreme Court Ruling: Corporate Liability for Escheated Securities

Wilmington, DE – September 23, 2009 – Morris Nichols regulatory and commercial law counseling partner and Best Lawyers Delaware Banking Lawyer of the Year Michael Houghton was featured in the article, “Delaware Supreme Court Rules Corporations May Be Liable When They Escheat Securities” in the September 23, 2009 edition of... Continue Reading

Michael Houghton Elected Executive Committee Chair of The National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws

Wilmington, DE – July 24, 2009 – Morris Nichols banking, regulatory and commercial law counseling partner Michael Houghton has been elected Chair of the Executive Committee of The National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (Uniform Law Commission (ULC)).  The Executive Committee is the governing body of the ULC and... Continue Reading

Michael Houghton Quoted in Corporate Counsel Weekly on New York Federal Court's Request for Escheat Law Guidance from Delaware Supreme Court

Wilmington, DE – February 11, 2009 – Partner Michael Houghton was featured in the article, “Delaware High Court’s Input Sought On State’s Escheatment Law” in the February 10, 2009 edition of Corporate Counsel Weekly. In a case that could have “significant impact on corporations, shareholders, and... Continue Reading

Events

UPPO 2015

3.8.2015 through 3.11.2015 in Orlando, FL - Unclaimed Property
by Donna L. Culver, Michael Houghton

The Unclaimed Property Professionals Organization will hold its annual conference from March 8 to 11, 2015 in Orlando, Fla. Morris Nichols partner Michael Houghton will speak at the Uniform Law Commission (“ULC”) Town Hall meeting on March 8.  Mike is the co-chair of the ULC Drafting Committee to Revise... Continue Reading

2012 UPPO Annual Conference

3.14.2012 in Orlando, FL - Unclaimed Property
by Michael Houghton

Michael Houghton, Morris Nichols Commercial Law Counseling Group partner, and Brenda Mayrack, Commercial Law Counseling Group associate, will serve as session presenters at the Unclaimed Property Professionals Organization (UPPO) Annual Conference, March 11-14, 2012 in Orlando, Florida.  Mike’s session, Anomalies in Unclaimed Property... Continue Reading

2011 UPPO Annual Conference

3.9.2011 in San Antonio, TX - Unclaimed Property
by Michael Houghton

Michael Houghton, Morris Nichols Banking, Regulatory and Commercial Law Counseling Group partner and Best Lawyers 2009 Banking Lawyer of the Year, and Commercial Law Counseling Group associate Brenda Mayrack will serve as session presenters at the Unclaimed Property Professionals Organization (UPPO) Annual Conference, March 6-9, 2011 in San... Continue Reading

2009 UPPO Annual Conference

3.12.2009 in Jacksonville, FL - Unclaimed Property, Commercial
by Michael Houghton

Morris Nichols banking, regulatory and commercial law counseling partner Michael Houghton will present Advanced Legal Issues in Unclaimed Property at the Unclaimed Property Professionals Organization (UPPO) Annual Conference in Jacksonville, Florida, March 12, 2009. Mike’s session is intended for attorneys with three or more years of... Continue Reading

Publications

Liability Exposure for Delaware Incorporated Companies – The Risk of an Escheat Audit and Delaware’s New Voluntary Disclosure Program to Avoid Penalties

Jeff Wolters, Morris Nichols Corporate Law Counseling Group partner, and Mike Houghton, Morris Nichols Unclaimed Property Law Counseling Group partner, co-authored Liability Exposure for Delaware Incorporated Companies – The Risk of an Escheat...

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