On January 17, 2023, Oregon House Bill 2160 was introduced. The bill proposes to amend both the securities and wages provisions in Oregon’s unclaimed property law.
1. Presumption of Abandonment – Under the current law, securities are presumed abandoned after a period of 3 years when: (1) A dividend, distribution or other sum has remained unclaimed for three years, (2) the owner has not otherwise communicated with the business association for three years from the date the sum was payable and (3) The business association has sent written notice of the payment and underlying interest to the owner at the last-known address of the owner as shown in the records of the business association. The bill removes the unclaimed distribution requirement and layers onto the notice requirements required prior to when a security is presumed abandoned.
Specially, the bill provides that a security is presumed abandoned if the owner has not communicated with the holder for a period of at least three years including a period of at least 30 days after the holder has sent the following two notices:
a. i. For owners that the holder customarily communicates by electronic mail, the holder must send notice by electronic mail. If the holder believes that the owner’s electronic mail address is not valid or the email is returned, the holder must also send notice by U.S. mail, or\
ii. For owners that the holder does not customarily communicate with the owner only by electronic mail, holders are to provide written notice and by email if the holder has a valid email address.
b. After giving all notices required above, the holder must send an additional written notice to the owner when the first written notice is returned to the holder as undeliverable or the holder has received no response for 30 days after giving the first notice described above.
The result is that two notices must go out to all owners who have not responded before property may be presumed abandoned. No specific time frame is given for when these extra pre-presumption notices are to be sent except that they must occur at least 30 days before the dormancy period expires. Additionally, once presumed abandoned, due diligence obligations will mandate another mailing to the extent the holder has a valid address.
2. Indication of Death of Security Holder – A provision relating to deceased owners is added to Oregon’s law. It provides that a security or distribution is presumed abandoned three years after the date of the death of the owner if:
a. The holder is notified of the owner’s death by an administrator, beneficiary, relative or trustee, or by a personal representative or other legal representative of the owner’s estate;
b. The holder receives a copy of the death certificate of the owner;
c. The holder can reasonably conclude the owner is deceased; or
d. The holder confirms through other means that the owner is deceased.
3. Unclaimed Distributions – A distribution is presumed abandoned if:
a. Three years have passed since the date the distribution was issued;
b. The owner has not claimed the distribution or communicated with the holder concerning the distribution; and
c. The holder has attempted to confirm the owner’s interest in the distribution in writing, including by electronic mail if the holder customarily communicates with the owner only by electronic mail.
1. The definition of “wages” is added to mean “wages, commissions, bonuses or reimbursements to which an employee is entitled as an owner, or other compensation for personal services, other than amounts held in a payroll card.”
2. The dormancy period for unpaid wages, including wages represented by unpresented payroll checks, owing in the ordinary course of the holder’s business is reduced from three years to one year.
If passed, the law would become effective on 1/1/24.