Collect Your Unclaimed Property from California

by Matthew Burgess on August 17, 2011

Our friends at the accounting firm of gishSeiden have brought this to our attention:

We want to remind you that the State of California may be holding property or money belonging to you. The California State Controller’s office has received unclaimed property belonging to over 13 million individuals and companies. This includes bank accounts, stocks, bonds, uncashed checks, and safe deposit box contents. Most accounts are turned over to the State when there is no owner contact with the institution or account for 3 years. Often the owner forgets the account exists or moves and does not leave a forwarding address.

Unclaimed property can only be claimed by the rightful owner. Visit the California State Controller’s website at to see if they have any property belonging to you (or your relatives). You can also check the unclaimed property websites of the other 49 states. Be prepared to provide proof that you lived at the address that matches the State’s records at the time your property was abandoned.

The California State Controllers has set up this Unclaimed Property Database to help you recover money that is rightfully yours. The most common types of Unclaimed Property are:

  • Bank accounts and safe deposit box contents
  • Stocks, mutual funds, bonds, and dividends
  • Uncashed cashier’s checks or money orders
  • Certificates of deposit
  • Matured or terminated insurance policies
  • Estates
  • Mineral interests and royalty payments, trust funds, and escrow accounts.

If you’d like assistance in determining if there is unclaimed property in your name, I’d suggest you contact Andy Levinson at gishSeiden.

I will also add a  word of caution about unclaimed property sites in general. If you look for unclaimed money sites on major search engines, you’ll find quite a few sites that are not official or government-run. I would recommend staying with the official state controller sites, as sometimes these other unclaimed money sites seem to really be just lead generation sites gathering your detailed contact info.

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