On December 10, 2014, Michigan House Bill 4703 was amended and then passed by the House the next day. The bill, originally introduced on May 7, 2013, seeks to amend the Uniform Unclaimed Property Act to provide an administrative process for a holder of unclaimed property to appeal a determination by the unclaimed property administrator that the holder under-reported unclaimed or abandoned property. The bill outlines the process in detail.
Differences between the Proposed and Existing Michigan Unclaimed Property Law
Current law provides that the only recourse for a holder aggrieved by a decision of the State Treasurer is to bring an action in circuit court within 90 days of the decision by the department. Under the current version of the proposed Michigan unclaimed property law, an aggrieved party now has a choice to either pursue reconsideration through a new appeals process established in the bill or bring an action in Michigan Circuit Court.
Even if the aggrieved party pursues the administrative appeals process, the matter may still be filed in Circuit Court at any time. If the aggrieved party chooses the appeals process, the Administrator will select a delegate to conduct the appeal. The delegate may not be employed by, or contracted with, the department to provide auditing or administrative services for the enforcement of this act other than as a delegate for an appeal.
The original version of the bill provided for an appeals process whereby an aggrieved person could, only after going through the administrative appeals process established in the bill, bring an action in circuit court. However, the bill proposed to limit court review to only challenging the sufficiency of the evidence used by the State Treasurer in making his or her administrative appeal ruling. According to the legislative analysis contained within that original bill, the proposed law was modeled after the recent appeals process added to the unclaimed property law of Delaware.
It appears that in amending and then passing the bill in the House, legislators were looking for a more holder friendly process that offers options for aggrieved parties.