$8 Billion in Unclaimed Property Held in California

Betty Yee, the California State Controller, would like to reunite $8 billion in unclaimed property with its 36 million rightful owners. ABC 7 News reports that most of the swag is in the form of bank accounts that have been forgotten, uncashed checks, stock dividends and inheritances. A sum of $300 million in life insurance is also tucked away safely in the vault. This money accumulates because people pass away without telling their beneficiaries that they have taken out policies in their names. Insurance companies used to hold onto that money, until California enacted a law forcing them to turn unclaimed benefits over to the state. One ABC7 employee discovered a life insurance policy worth nearly $9,000 that she hadn't known her mother left behind. The state is not without its stash of hardware, either. Locked away in a Sacramento vault are historic documents, rare trading cards, a baseball autographed by Babe Ruth, diamonds, savings bonds and gold coins. The state returns $600,000 in forgotten property to owners every day. According to Ms. Yee, "We make it easy. We ask that everyone check regularly." She went on to say, 'It's stuff people forget. They've just lost track of it." Here are just a few examples of treasures (some life-changing, others, not so much) discovered by lucky California residents:
  • Alameda resident SG found $40 in an old credit union account. "... that'll get us a couple of tacos," he said.
  • DR, also of Alameda, found $322 due to her husband as a tuition refund.
  • JC found a bank refund in the amount of $1.56. "Hey, it's something," was her response to the windfall.
  • SN found a combination of cash and shares amounting to $1,000.
More than half of people who try, find something. To find out if the State of California has something that belongs to you, simply visit the Unclaimed Property Search website and type in your name.


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