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Unclaimed property with your name on it

Check with the State Controller for unclaimed funds

There may be some unclaimed money or personal property with your name on it. Literally. The State of California is currently holding nearly $7 billion worth of unclaimed personal property (sorry, no real estate). Could some of it be yours?

Examples of Unclaimed Property from Safe Deposit Boxes
Examples of Unclaimed Property from Safe Deposit Boxes

The property comes from various sources; forgotten bank or stock accounts, overpayments, uncashed cashier’s checks, escrow accounts, matured or terminated insurance policies, utility deposits and safe deposit box contents. Typically the institution has to do their best to find you for three years before getting the state involved. After the three years, the State does it’s best to find you via an annual notice, instructing you to contact the institution holding your property directly, to claim your funds. If you don’t make your claim, the property goes to the state. The period of time for the property to escheat (or become the property of the State) is between 18 months and 7 years, depending on what it is.

To get to the State Controller’s website, go to  You can search for property by your name. Not surprisingly, there is a claims process in which you’ll have to prove it’s yours. It would be an interesting challenge to claim some of the cool items from safe deposit boxes that are highlighted on the website !

As for poking around on the website, it’s very easy and quick to check. For fun, I did a search on my name and didn’t find anything. When I searched only on my last name, I found some family members that had some items they hadn’t claimed!

The Controller’s site also warns of fraud. The example given, is an email which is sent to an unsuspecting person claiming that they have unclaimed property and that for a fee, the person on the other side of the email will get your property for you. The State does not send emails regarding unclaimed property, nor do they charge you to get your property back, so if you get such an email, please notify the State at their legal department will look into it.

If you find some cash or bling, give me a call; drinks are on you!

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