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 and Delaware Department of State regulations regarding unclaimed property and audit procedures and voluntary disclosure procedures for holders.  We offer extensive 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 by Bloomberg BNA on New Law Revising Delaware Unclaimed Property Program

In an article titled, “Delaware Revamps Unclaimed Property After Lawsuits,” Morris Nichols partner Michael Houghton spoke with Bloomberg BNA about unclaimed property legislation enacted by Delaware Gov. John Carney on February 2, 2017. “This is an absolute and complete revision of the Delaware law,” he said. “The entire Delaware unclaimed... Continue Reading

Michael Houghton Quoted in The News Journal on Proposed Legislation to Reform Delaware Unclaimed Property Program

Delaware Senate Bill 13 proposes major reforms to the state’s unclaimed property program. The legislation responds to the Delaware District Court’s decision in Temple-Inland and aims to update Delaware law to address reforms developed by the Uniform Law Commission (“ULC”). In an article published by The New Journal titled, “State... Continue Reading

Morris Nichols Unveils Thought Leadership ePub Companions

Wilmington, DE (August 18, 2016) – Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell LLP, a leader in Delaware law, launched a series of Delaware legal practice ePublications.  Available for download on MNAT.com, the ePubs afford the reader convenient access via mobile device or desktop. “This is another example of how we are providing our clients and... Continue Reading

Michael Houghton Quoted in Delaware State News and The News Journal on Temple-Inland Settlement Impact on Delaware Unclaimed Property Program

On Friday, August 5, Delaware and Temple-Inland settled a lawsuit challenging the state’s collection of unclaimed money orders. Morris Nichols partner Michael Houghton spoke with Delaware State News and The News Journal regarding the consequences of the litigation and the settlement, noting this and other lawsuits challenging the state’s... Continue Reading

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 look-backs and a... 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 has... 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 program and perception... 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 made at the... Continue Reading

BusinessWeek Quotes Michael Houghton: Delaware Among States Eyeing Unclaimed Property

Wilmington, DE – November 29, 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 Associated Press article entitled Delaware Among States Eyeing Unclaimed Property published today in Bloomberg’s BusinessWeek. The article... 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 recent... Continue Reading

Events

Articles

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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