November 2011 Vol. 110 No. 2 THE REVIEW

Unclaimed Property and Due Process: Justifying "Revenue-Raising" Modern Escheat

Teagan J. Gregory

States have long claimed the right to take custody of presumably abandoned property and hold it for the benefit of the true owner under the doctrine of escheat. In the face of increasing fiscal challenges, states have worked to increase their collection of unclaimed property via new escheat legislation that appears to bear little or no relation to protecting the interests of owners. Holders of unclaimed property have raised substantive due process challenges in response to these modern escheat statutes. This Note contends that two categories of these disputed laws-those shortening dormancy periods and those allowing states to estimate a holder's unclaimed property liability in the absence of creditor records-are logically consistent with the legitimate state interest in reuniting owners with their abandoned property and therefore do not violate due process.

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