A court may classify California state unclaimed property as abandoned, lost or mislaid. These classifications have their origins in common law and can be difficult to interpret under modern legal systems. Legal documents may refer to the common law doctrine that ensures property is not left ownerless as escheat. California property owners usually have a superior claim to escheat than a trespasser who discovers the property.
There are specific forms and procedures to follow when claiming unclaimed property in California. Generally, the state serves as the custodian for unclaimed property until the appropriate agencies approve the finder’s claim on the abandoned property. California companies frequently lose property through misfortune or carelessness. Abandoned property in California can be an inexpensive way to obtain business equipment.
There are general types of California abandoned property:
1. Liquid assets such as a dormant bank account, safe deposit contents, unclaimed deposits or refunds, uncashed checks and unused insurance benefits;
2. Abandoned property the original owner is unlikely to return to claim. Certain property such as wrecked cars, ships or aircraft may belong to the state;
3. Property confiscated by law enforcement or repossessed by a loan company. These items are frequently auctioned off to the public.
Find agencies that handle state of California unclaimed propertyBeware of sites that charge you a fee to help you find California unclaimed money. This information should be available from your state government at no charge.
California State Controller keeps a database of unclaimed property that is searchable by name, business name or property ID.
Participate in a CA state unclaimed property auctionMost states have their own auctions to allow prospective buyers to bid on unclaimed or otherwise abandoned property.
Search for California unclaimed properties in your citySome communities in California have a department that attempts to reunite unclaimed property with its owner. This department can answer specific questions regarding lost or abandoned property.
- Unclaimed property in California that the owner deliberately hides or conceals may be a treasure trove instead of mislaid property. The property must remain concealed long enough for the owner to be dead or undiscoverable. A treasure trove may belong to the finder or the property owner.