What happens to all the checks that are sent by companies but never deposited? Can companies keep that money in their bank account and use it for something else. The answer is No, they can’t.
The good news is that there is a law to prevent holders of Unclaimed Property from using your money and taking it into their business income. This law gives the State an opportunity to return your money and provides California citizens with a single source, the State Controller’s Office, to check for Unclaimed Property that may be reported by holders from around the nation.
According to the recent number I collected, The State of California is currently in possession of more than $6.1 billion in Unclaimed Property belonging to approximately 17.6 million individuals and organizations. Yes, this is not a typo. It is $6.1 billion dollars.
The State acquires unclaimed property through California’s Unclaimed Property Law, which requires “holders” such as corporations, business associations, financial institutions, and insurance companies to annually report and deliver the property to the State Controller’s Office after there has been no customer contact for three years. Often the owner forgets that the account exists, or moves and does not leave a forwarding address or the forwarding order expires. In some cases, the owner dies and the heirs have no knowledge of the property.
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; and
- Mineral interests and royalty payments, trust funds, and escrow accounts.
The Unclaimed Property law was enacted Please visit the Unclaimed Property Database to see if the State Controller’s Office is holding Unclaimed Property for you. Learn more about the Unclaimed Property Program at State Controller John Chiang’s website.