Illinois Stealthily Enacts Version of RUUPA as Part of Budget Bill

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This week, the Illinois General Assembly enacted budget legislation (SB 9) to much fanfare.  Although most news stories will likely focus on the fact that the state has a budget for the first time in several years, the real breaking news in the unclaimed property world is that a version of the 2016 Revised Uniform Unclaimed Property Act (“RUUPA”) was included as part of SB 9.  A RUUPA bill (HB 2603) had previously been introduced and considered in the legislature but had been stagnant since March.  However, Illinois’ version of RUUPA is enacted and effective on January 1, 2018, seemingly out of nowhere.

Alston & Bird is in the process of preparing a more in-depth summary of Illinois’ new law.  In the meantime, we can share the following high-level thoughts:

  • Stored value cards are exempt if they meet the definition of “gift card,” which includes requirements that the card not expire or impose fees.  In-store credits for returned merchandise are also expressly exempt.  However, stored value cards that do not meet the definition of “gift card” are escheatable.
  • The standard RUUPA provision is included for retirement accounts, which is premised in part upon returned mail (in contrast to existing Illinois law).
  • In contrast, the provision applicable to securities deviates from RUUPA by imposing alternative dormancy triggers premised on either returned mail, inactivity, or owner death.
  • Consistent with HB 2603 and in a departure from existing Illinois law, SB 9 (a) does not include a business-to-business exemption, and (b) enacts an anti-limitations provision.
  • Certain other aspects of the law appear to be consistent with RUUPA, including the exemptions for game-related digital content and loyalty cards, the inclusion of a specific provision for UTMA/UGMA accounts, and the assertion that the state may escheat foreign-owned property under the second-priority rule.

We will explore these and other aspects of SB 9 in more depth in our forthcoming advisory. Stay tuned for more on this breaking development.