Here’s something that is more promising than a lottery ticket – an unclaimed property that may be waiting for you. And now it’s easier than ever to find that property using the Internet.
Unclaimed property comes in many varieties. Perhaps it’s a savings or checking account you’ve forgotten about. Or it could be an uncashed check that was lost in the mail. Gosh, maybe dear departed Aunt Sadie remembered you in her will, but forgot to say where you lived.
By law, most accounts become unclaimed property when the owner can’t be found, or there is no owner contact or account activity for three years.
All businesses are required to send a notice to your last known address to let you know they will be sending your money to the State Controller if you don’t respond.
Once your property is turned over to the State Controller, that office will send you a notice informing you of the unclaimed property. The State Controller also publishes a notice of unclaimed property in newspapers in each county annually.
To find out if there is unclaimed property waiting for you in California, you can look for your name on Web site www.sco.ca.gov, or call 1-800-992-4647.
To search for property in other states, go to the Web site of the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators at www.unclaimed.org. There you will find links to various state web sites for unclaimed property. If you find your name in these databases, you can claim your property by filing a claim with the State Controller’s office, including evidence of ownership.
The best way to prevent your property from being turned over to the state is to keep accurate records of all bank accounts, insurance policies, stock certificates, utility and rent deposits and safe deposit boxes.
Keep in contact with the holders of your property by mail or telephone. Cash all checks that come your way. And prepare a checklist of your accounts so you can notify all the account holders when you change your address.