WEST virginia legislature
2019 regular session
House Bill 2193
By Delegate Shott
[Originating in the Committee on the Judiciary, January 16, 2019.]
A BILL to amend and reenact §36-8-1 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended; and to amend said code by adding thereto a new section, designated §36-8-2a, all relating to providing for the specific escheat of United States savings bonds and all rights and legal title thereto; and defining terms.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
ARTICLE 8. UNIFORM UNCLAIMED PROPERTY ACT.
As used in this article:
(1) “Administrator” means the State Treasurer.
(2) “Apparent owner” means a person whose name appears on the records of a holder as the person entitled to property held, issued or owing by the holder.
(3) “Business association” means a corporation, joint stock company, investment company, partnership, unincorporated association, joint venture, limited liability company, business trust, trust company, safe deposit company, financial organization, insurance company, mutual fund, utility or other business entity consisting of one or more persons, whether or not for profit.
(4) “Domicile” means the state of incorporation of a corporation and the state of the principal place of business of a holder other than a corporation.
(5) “Financial organization” means a savings and loan association, bank, banking organization or credit union.
(6) “Holder” means a person obligated to hold for the account of, or deliver or pay to, the owner property that is subject to this article.
(7) “Insurance company” means an association, corporation, or fraternal or mutual benefit organization, whether or not for profit, engaged in the business of providing life endowments, annuities or insurance, including accident, burial, casualty, credit life, contract performance, dental, disability, fidelity, fire, health, hospitalization, illness, life, malpractice, marine, mortgage, surety, wage protection and workers’ compensation insurance.
(8) “Mineral” means gas; oil; coal; other gaseous, liquid and solid hydrocarbons; oil shale; cement material; sand and gravel; road material; building stone; chemical raw material; gemstone; fissionable and nonfissionable ores; colloidal and other clay; steam and other geothermal resource; or any other substance defined as a mineral by the law of this state.
(9) “Mineral proceeds” means amounts payable for the extraction, production or sale of minerals, or, upon the abandonment of those payments, all payments that become payable thereafter. The term includes amounts payable:
(i) For the acquisition and retention of a mineral lease, including bonuses, royalties, compensatory royalties, shut-in royalties, minimum royalties and delay rentals;
(ii) For the extraction, production or sale of minerals, including net revenue interests, royalties, overriding royalties, extraction payments and production payments; and
(iii) Under an agreement or option, including a joint operating agreement, unit agreement, pooling agreement and farm-out agreement.
(10) “Money order” includes an express money order and a personal money order, on which the remitter is the purchaser. The term does not include a bank money order or any other instrument sold by a financial organization if the seller has obtained the name and address of the payee.
(11) “Owner” means a person who has a legal or equitable interest in property subject to this article or the person’s legal representative. The term includes a depositor in the case of a deposit, a beneficiary in the case of a trust other than a deposit in trust, and a creditor, claimant or payee in the case of other property.
(12) “Person” means an individual, business association, financial organization, estate, trust, government, governmental subdivision, agency or instrumentality, or any other legal or commercial entity.
(13) “Property” means tangible personal property described in section three of this article or a fixed and certain interest in intangible personal property that is held, issued or owed in the course of a holder’s business, or by a government, governmental subdivision, agency or instrumentality, and all income or increments therefrom. The term includes property that is referred to as or evidenced by:
(i) Money, a check, draft, warrant for payment issued by the State of West Virginia, deposit, interest or dividend;
(ii) Credit balance, customer’s overpayment, gift certificate, security deposit, refund, credit memorandum, unpaid wage, unused ticket, mineral proceeds or unidentified remittance;
(iii) Stock or other evidence of ownership of an interest in a business association or financial organization;
(iv) A bond, debenture, note or other evidence of indebtedness;
(v) Money deposited to redeem stocks, bonds, coupons or other securities or to make distributions;
(vi) An amount due and payable under the terms of an annuity or insurance policy, including policies providing life insurance, property and casualty insurance, workers’ compensation insurance or health and disability insurance; and
(vii) An amount distributable from a trust or custodial fund established under a plan to provide health, welfare, pension, vacation, severance, retirement, death, stock purchase, profit sharing, employee savings, supplemental unemployment insurance or similar benefits.
(14) “Record” means information that is inscribed on a tangible medium or that is stored in an electronic or other medium and is retrievable in perceivable form.
(15) “State” means a state of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico or any territory or insular possession subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.
(16) “United States savings bond” means property, tangible or intangible, in the form of a savings bond issued by the United States Treasury whether in paper form, electronic or paperless form, along with the proceeds thereof.
(16) (17) “Utility” means a person who owns
or operates for public use any plant, equipment, real property, franchise or
license for the transmission of communications or the production, storage,
transmission, sale, delivery or furnishing of electricity, water, steam or gas
as defined in §24-1-2 of this code.
§36-8-2a. Escheat of United States savings bonds.
(a) Notwithstanding any other section of this article or any other section of this code to the contrary, United States savings bonds held or owing in the state by any person, or issued, or owed, in the course of a holder’s business, or by a state or other government, governmental subdivision, agency, or instrumentality and all proceeds thereof, shall be presumed abandoned in the state if:
(1) The last known address of the owner of the United States savings bond is in West Virginia; and
(2) The United States savings bond has remained unclaimed and unredeemed for five years after final maturity.
(b) United States savings bonds which are presumed abandoned and unclaimed under §36-8-2a(a) of this code, including bonds in the possession of the administrator, and those lost, stolen or destroyed bonds registered to persons with last known addresses in the state, shall escheat to the State of West Virginia one year after such bonds are presumed abandoned, and all property rights and legal title to, and ownership of, the United States savings bonds or proceeds from the bonds, including all rights, powers and privileges of survivorship of any owner, co-owner, or beneficiary, shall vest solely in the State of West Virginia according to the procedure set forth in §36-8-2a(d) through (g), inclusive, of this code.
(c) After the one year prescribed in §36-8-2a(b) of this code, if no claim has been filed in accordance with the provisions of §36-8-2a(g) of this code for such United States savings bonds, the administrator may commence a civil action in the circuit court of Kanawha County, or in any other court of competent jurisdiction, for a determination that such United States savings bonds shall escheat to the State of West Virginia.
(d) The administrator shall make service by publication of the civil action in accordance with Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 4(e).
(e) If no person files a claim or appears at the hearing to substantiate a claim, or where the court determines that a claimant is not entitled to the property claimed by such claimant, then the court, if satisfied by evidence that the administrator has substantially complied with the laws of the State of West Virginia, shall enter a judgment that the subject United States savings bonds, including bonds in the possession of the administrator and those lost, stolen or destroyed bonds registered to persons with last known addresses in the state, have escheated to the State of West Virginia, and all property rights and legal title to and ownership of such United States savings bonds or proceeds from such bonds, including all rights, powers and privileges of survivorship of any owner, co-owner or beneficiary, shall vest in the State of West Virginia.
(f) The administrator shall redeem such United States savings bonds escheated to the State of West Virginia and when the proceeds which have escheated have been recovered by the administrator, it shall first pay all costs incident to the collection and recovery of such proceeds from the redemption of the United States savings bonds and shall thereafter promptly deposit the remaining balance of such proceeds into the Unclaimed Property Fund pursuant to §36-8-13 of this code or into a separate account selected by the administrator to be distributed in accordance with law.
(g) Notwithstanding the provisions of §36-8-15 and §36-8-16 of this code, any person making a claim for the United States savings bonds escheated to the State of West Virginia under this section, or for the proceeds from such bonds, may file a claim with the administrator pursuant to §36-8-15 of this code. Upon providing sufficient proof of the validity of such person’s claim, the administrator may, in his or her sole discretion, pay such claim less any expenses and costs which have been incurred by the state in securing full title and ownership of such property by escheat. If payment has been made to any claimant, no action thereafter may be maintained by any other claimant against the state or any officer thereof, for, or on account of, such funds.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to provide a specific escheat of United States savings bonds.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from a heading or the present law and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.