Government Confiscation of Dormant Assets

Thursday, July 24, 2014
By Paul Martin

Ted Bauman
Activist Post.com
Thursday, July 24, 2014

From my father Bob Bauman, I inherited an affinity for the great American vaudeville and film comic, W.C. Fields. For those who remember him, W.C. is best known for his drinking habits and his creative partnership with another great star of his era, Mae West — she of “come up and see me some time” fame.

W.C.’s unique brand of humor — like that of the Marx Brothers, my appreciation for which signifies another Bauman idiosyncrasy — is rooted in a healthy disdain for convention and distrust of authority. But W.C. was like many of us in another way: he practiced a sound asset protection strategy.

You see, W.C. was in the habit of making small deposits — a few hundred dollars, say — at local banks in towns where he performed during his vaudeville days. His years of show business experience taught him that unscrupulous promoters, agents and the taxman could easily leave a traveling minstrel like him high and dry, financially speaking. And that would leave him dry in other ways as well.

But W.C. is surely turning in his grave, for in today’s America, all of that careful preparation would have been for naught: the government would just have taken his money for itself.

I had no idea — until I read about a similar system in Australia — that all 50 U.S. states now have laws on the books that allow them to seize “dormant” assets from their owners. These assets range from uncashed dividend checks to safe deposit boxes to actual bank accounts. Banks and other businesses are required to turn that property over to the states for “safekeeping.”

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