We get this question almost every day through our support line. Nearly every state requires relationship code values on the records you are reporting. I’ll explain what they are, how to find them, and how to use them.
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.
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.
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 relationship codes to use in certain situations. You can take a look at Iowa’s explanations here on page 4.
If you have trouble determining which relationship codes to use, contact the state you are reporting to and they will be happy to give you the guidance you need. Proper use of relationship codes helps make claim payments much smoother for the states. It will also make things easier for you as the state will not have to call you for information when they pay out the claims.
Get in touch with a Sovos unclaimed property expert to learn more about managing your unclaimed property compliance processes.