Claiming the Property: $2.6 Billion in Unclaimed Property
The State of California is holding more than $2.6 BILLION in unclaimed property value belonging to approximately 5.2 million individuals and organizations. The property can be any financial asset that has been left inactive by the owner for three years. (See section below, Safe Deposit Box contents.)
The most common types of unclaimed property are savings or checking accounts, stocks, dividends, uncashed checks, certificates of deposit, matured or terminated insurance policies, and safe deposit box contents. Unclaimed property may also include estates.
You can search for escheated property electronically by going to the State Controller’s website. That’s the easy part. Claiming the property can be a different story, despite adequate instructions on the website. If in doubt, we’ll be happy to assist you pro-bono. To date we’ve helped clients recover over $500,000.
Safe Deposit Box Contents
When annual fees are 90 days past due, the financial institution will drill the lock on the box to gain access to the contents, which are inventoried and put into “dual custody” for three years. Inventory is reported to the State Controller each September. After 3 years, contents are turned over to the State and all items of monetary value will be sold at auction. Proceeds from the sale will be credited to an account, less any bank liens, and will be paid to you or the heirs upon filing a valid claim.
We have found that property isn’t always in the legal name. Be creative. You can search by last name, first and middle initial, or with a city. Start your search with tight parameters, if nothing shows up, try searching with last name only in the cities you or whomever you’re searching for may have lived or worked in. Search for your mother’s maiden name. Good Luck!