Oregon State Bar Bulletin — DECEMBER 2009

New Treatment for Abandoned Property, Unclaimed Funds
Effective Jan. 1, 2010, unclaimed funds held in lawyer trust accounts must be paid over to the Oregon State Bar instead of to the Department of State Lands, as a result of the 2009 Legislature’s amendment of the Uniform Disposition of Unclaimed Property Act (ORS 98.302 to 98.436)
in SB 867.

As amended, the act now requires that funds in lawyer trust accounts be reported to the Department of State Lands but delivered to the OSB with a copy of the report. The money paid to the bar under the act is “continuously appropriated to” the OSB for the provision of legal services to the poor under the Legal Services

Pursuant to ORS 98.332, funds held by a fiduciary are deemed abandoned if the owner has neither accepted payment of the funds, corresponded in writing about the funds or otherwise indicated interest in the funds within two years after the funds are payable or distributable to the owner.

OAR141-045-0005 to 141-045-0185 govern the reporting of abandoned property to DSL. Property having a value of $50 or more per account must be reported individually. If more than 15 properties are being reported, the report must be submitted electronically on the form posted on the DSL web site. If fewer properties are reported, the report can be submitted electronically or in hard copy either on the DSL form or a self-generated form that contains all the required

Funds deemed abandoned as of June 30 of each year are to be reported to the DSL during the month of October of that same year, although earlier reporting may be allowed on written request. Both the statute and the OARs detail the information that must be included in the report.

OSB Formal Ethics Opinion No. 2005-48 explains what lawyers must do with regard to unclaimed funds in client trust accounts, including the duty to hold the funds in trust, and to make reasonable efforts to locate the rightful owner until the funds are deemed abandoned under the act. The opinion is being revised to conform to the amended act. Questions about reporting abandoned funds can be addressed to Judith Baker at (503) 431-6323 or jbaker@osbar.org; or to Sylvia Stevens at (503) 431-6359 or sstevens@osbar.org. Additional information can be obtained from the Department of State Lands.

“Senior Advocate” Nominations Sought
Nominations are sought for the 2010 Senior Advocate, an attorney who will be recognized at the Senior Citizen Council of Clackamas County’s annual dinner on March 6, 2010, at the Monarch Hotel in Clackamas. The Senior Citizens Council protects the elderly and disabled from abuse and self-neglect, promoting independence to delay or reduce the need for state assistance or court intervention. The award recipient will have brought honor to our profession by ably representing a senior citizen in a time of need. That might be an attorney who made sure Grandma’s wishes were followed, or ensured that the wishes of those who misled Grandma weren’t. It might be a prosecutor who prosecuted a particularly egregious financial elder abuse case. It might be that gentle counsel who saw that her aging client couldn’t get to the office, and made house calls, or connected the needy senior to resources beyond those which lawyers generally provide.

Nominations should be sent to Senior Citizen Council board president John W. “Jack” Lundeen by Dec. 15 at P.O. Box 1146, Lake Oswego, OR 97035, or by e-mail to jacklundee@aol.com. The nominating letter should identify the nominee, his or her firm, length of service, the particular act of excellence that brought that person to mind as an appropriate person for the award, as well as some general observations about that attorney’s style of practice. References will be considered but are not mandatory.

Volunteers Needed to Wrap Gifts for Child Centered Solutions
Child Centered Solutions will be wrapping gifts at the Washington Square Barnes & Noble on Monday, Dec. 14 and Saturday, Dec. 19 from 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Barnes & Noble supplies the wrapping paper, and our volunteers will collect tips to raise money for Child Centered Solutions. Please send an email to info@childcentered
if you would like to sign up for a 3-hour shift. Teens are welcome, but must be accompanied by an adult. Two volunteers are needed per shift. 

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