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Three Best Practices for Unclaimed Property Record Retention

Sherry Hale
December 30, 2019

Unclaimed property retention requirements vary based on each state’s rules and regulations. Depending upon the property type and state, record retention periods can take up to 10 years, not including the dormancy period. This means you could retain records for up to 20 years.

To successfully keep track of all these records and avoid an audit, you will need to adopt some record retention strategies and processes. Below are three that you can start to implement today:

Store documents on lost property owners

The first unclaimed property record retention process your business should implement is to keep documentation of all pertinent information regarding lost property owners. This provides you with a paper or electronic audit trail. Not keeping documentation on lost property owners for the length of time required by the state puts your business at risk of a costly, time-consuming audit.

Additional documents to store

You should also keep records on the following items. These have consistently proven to be useful during reporting, audits and other record retention efforts:

  • Gift cards;
  • Checks;
  • Customer correspondence;
  • Investment histories;
  • Safe deposit box contents;
  • And certified mail.

Store documents electronically

The way businesses store unclaimed property documentation varies greatly based on the resources at hand and their unique business needs. However, with the technology available today for storing, maintaining and retaining documents, you will want to consider storing your unclaimed property documentation electronically. Electronic storage is typically the most cost-effective solution and it saves time. This is because electronic storage makes documents readily available to search, view and edit. And Electronic storage makes it easier to update documents when state changes take place.

Train all departments

To ensure consistency throughout your organization, you should provide training for all departments and executives involved in the unclaimed property compliance process. Review policies and procedures regularly and modify reference materials so all staff have access to valid, updated, living documents any one can use to manage the entire unclaimed property compliance process successfully. This will prevent miscommunication and turnover from taking your business out of compliance.

Adopting and maintaining these unclaimed property record retention practices will save your business valuable time and resources. And with the time you save, you and your team can focus on your most important business goals. Implementing these practices could also prevent a costly and time-consuming audit.

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Sherry Hale

Sherry Hale assists in managing sales and marketing initiatives. Sherry has a degree in Marketing, Business Management, and HR Management from Mount Mercy University in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. In her free time, she loves spending time with family, volunteering with animal rescue, playing with her own rescue pets, and riding her Harley.
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