Understanding and Using Relationship Codes

Danielle Herring
October 1, 2013
Many people who are tasked with filing unclaimed property don’t have an idea where to start. The process itself isn’t so bad, but there are some things you have to understand before you can file.
One of those things is which Relationship Code values to use for each property. Did you know that if you don’t apply relationship code values or don’t supply the correct relationship code values, some states will reject your report? That’s how important they are.
Relationship codes help the state determine how they should pay out a claim. For example, if you have a property that is owned solely by John Smith you may use the relationship code of ‘SO’ which means Sole Owner. When the state pays John’s claim, they will know the property belongs to him alone. However, if John Smith and his wife Mary both have a claim to the property, the states need to know if they should pay each person an equal amount of the property or if they can release the entire value to the first person who claims it. The code of ‘AN’ which means ‘and’ would be used to show they both have an equal claim. The code ‘OR’ which means ‘or’ would tell the state that whomever comes forward to claim the property first can claim the entire value.
NAUPA has a list of standard relationship code values. They can be found here on page 23. States have the right to choose which codes they will use and to implement codes that are not on this list. Providers of unclaimed property reporting software keep tabs on the state specific lists and display them for your use. For UPExchange users, you can find the state specific lists on the Resources page. Just click on the state in question then click the Relationship Codes link.
It gets more confusing when you are dealing with estates, uniform gifts to minors, and other relationships where there might be a custodian and a beneficiary.
A few states give examples of which property codes to use in certain situations. These are a huge help, but not every state provides them. If in doubt, contact the state you are reporting to and ask which Relationship Code values you should use.
Get in touch with a Sovos unclaimed property expert to learn more about managing your unclaimed property compliance processes.

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Danielle Herring

In her role as compliance manager for unclaimed property reporting, Danielle Herring oversees support of the product, researches changes in state unclaimed property laws so the system is updated to comply with them, and tests changes to the system before they are released. Danielle also completes some report and letter processing for current clients, assists with their direct support, provides customer training, and helps with troubleshooting and questions about using the product. Outside of work, Danielle loves to garden and is a master gardener.
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