California is sitting on $10.2 billion in unclaimed property. Is some of it yours?

An illustrated graphic of a pile of paper money
(Tim Lahan)

California has more than $10.2 billion in unclaimed property, and the state wants to reunite that money with its owners.

By law, property holders — including banks, insurance companies and businesses — are required to transfer property to the state controller’s office if a customer’s account has been dormant for a certain amount of time, usually three years.

“We watch over all sorts of properties you might not know exist, from a rebate that was returned to sender after a move, to bonds your grandmother bought in your name. It is so worthwhile to take a few minutes to search and discover whether you have funds coming your way,” Controller Betty T. Yee said this week in a statement.

A new holiday, National Unclaimed Property Day, reminds Californians that there may be funds that belong to them, waiting to be pocketed.


“For smaller claims, with clear proof of ownership, you can file online and often have a check within weeks,” Yee said.

The searchable database can be found on the state controller’s website.

Prior to turning any property over to the state, agencies that hold the funds must attempt to let owners know that their money, stock or other property is about to be transferred.

In the past 10 years, the value of unclaimed property held by the state has grown from about $6.3 billion to about $10.2 billion. Each year, roughly 30% to 45% of the money is claimed by its rightful owners.

Once the property is in state custody, there is no deadline for when it must be claimed.