The sole objective of the Unclaimed Property Program is to (a) reunite lost and abandoned property with their rightful owners and to (b) safeguard these properties from being used by private interests for personal gain.
Property which may be turned over to the State includes, but is not limited to: safe deposit accounts, safe deposit boxes, uncashed payroll checks, cashier checks, vendor checks, securities, dividends, insurance proceeds, security deposits, as well as other types of intangible property.
California Code of Civil Procedure sections 1510 through 1521 generally require property to be reported to the State after a certain period of inactivity by the owner. In the case of a bank account, for example, a banking organization is required by law to report property when the owner, for more than three years, has not done any of the following:
Prior to reporting property to the State, banking or financial institutions and other businesses are required by law to mail a notice to the owner that the property will be turned over to the State. The notice is to be mailed not less than six months or more than 12 months before the time the property is reported to the State. The notice is to contain a form by which the owner may declare their intention to maintain the account or confirm the owner’s current address. If that form is filled out, signed by the owner, and returned to the organization, the property will not be turned over to the State.
Additionally, the Controller will also mail a notice to each owner that informs the owner that the property may be transferred to the State, the name of the organization in possession of the property, and contact information necessary to prevent the property from being transferred to the State.
Once property has been received by the State of California it will be administered by the Controller pursuant to the Unclaimed Property Law. The State Controller, and his relevant agents and employees, shall advance and protect the following rights afforded to all owners whose property has been turned over to the State pursuant to the Unclaimed Property Law, Code of Civil Procedure Sections 1500 et seq.
Or directly from:
Unclaimed Property Division P.O. Box 942850 Sacramento, CA 94250-5873
Or by telephone at: 1-800-992-4647
An owner whose claim has been denied or returned for additional documentation may request an informal appeal of the denial by contacting the Controller’s legal office within 30 days of the date of the denial or date the claim is returned. Prior to requesting an informal appeal, the claimant should have made all reasonable attempts to provide the Unclaimed Property Division with all documentation needed to support the claim.
Upon receipt of the request for an informal appeal, the Controller’s legal office will review the file and may schedule a hearing and request additional evidence. At the conclusion of the legal review, the legal office will provide written notice informing the claimant either that the claim is approved or that the Division’s determination to deny the claim is affirmed. Informal appeals should be addressed as follows:
State Controller’s Office
300 Capitol Mall, Suite 1850
Sacramento California 95814
Judicial Action on Determinations
Any claimant aggrieved by a decision of the Controller’s Office or who has not received a decision from the Unclaimed Property Division within 180 days after filing the claim may commence an action to establish his or her claim in the superior court in any county or city and county in which the Attorney General has an office. The action must be filed within 90 days after the decision is made or within 270 days from the filing of the claim if no decision has been made by the Controller.
In furtherance of the aforementioned rights and protections afforded to property owners and to improve the responsiveness of the Unclaimed Property Division to the public it serves, an Unclaimed Property Owner Advocate shall be established. The Advocate will be available to assist claimants who have not been able to resolve their claims in a timely manner with the Unclaimed Property Division and shall be charged with the following duties and responsibilities:
Unclaimed money come from many sources. Much of it – about 10% – is from insurance, e.g. someone had life insurance the heirs don‘t know about, or the policy changed after people moved, and the insurance company didn‘t find them. Most of the money is small amounts from old bank accounts.
Unclaimed Property is any financial asset that has been abandoned by the owner for one or more years. Some examples of property that can become abandoned are:
Treasuries of every state deal with unclaimed property passed on to them by the “property holder” organization. Information here can refer to both properties held by government and non-government organizations, so if the state procedure yields no results it is a good idea to contact the organization directly.
Please, check the ‘Property Holder’ column. Have you ever dealt with the organization listed there? Have you lived in that state?
If you have reason to believe that you are the rightful owner of the property listed here you have to find out if you can claim the property under question, and if it’s worth the effort.
All states maintain free-to-access registries of unclaimed properties.
Unclaimed Property Call Center
(800) 992-4647 Nationwide
(916) 323-2827 Outside of U.S
Call Center is available 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific Time, Monday through Friday, excluding state holidays
Mailing Claims & General Information
Unclaimed Property Division P.O. Box 942850, Sacramento, CA 94250-5873
Public Counter & Overnight Mail
Unclaimed Property Division 10600 White Rock Road, Suite 141, Rancho Cordova, CA 95670
State Controller's Office - Legal Division
300 Capitol Mall, Suite 1850, Sacramento, CA 95814