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Online Claim Services

Notice to Our Website Visitors - Due to server maintenance at our website host (the State’s Office of Technology Services), the Controller’s Unclaimed Property Inquiry application may be unavailable Sunday, July 27, 2014, between the hours of 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. Pacific Time. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, and we will update this message if this schedule changes. – The Controller’s Web Support Team


About Claiming

 

Who Do I Contact When I Receive A Notice That My Property Is Going To Be Transferred To The State?

Before property is transferred to the State, the State Controller’s Office sends a notice to all property owners with property valued at $50 or more informing them that they have property that will be transferred to the State unless they contact the business by a certain date. The State Controller’s notice includes the name of the business, the contact information, the type of property and the amount. 

It is critical that you contact the business by the deadline stated in the notice to prevent the property from being transferred to the State. 

Please note: The business contact information is provided by the business and occasionally changes after the State Controller's Office sends the notice to property owners.   An updated business contact list is available for that have changed their information.

After your property is transferred, you may claim it from the State at no charge. There is no time limit on claiming your property once it has been sent to the State.

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What if an Investigator (Heir Finder) sends me a letter offering to recover the property for a fee before it is transferred to the State Controller’s Office (SCO)?

Investigators are not allowed to contract with a property owner to help the owner recover unclaimed property once a business has notified the State Controller’s Office that the property will be transferred to the state for safekeeping. A property owner may reactivate the account or recover the property free of charge from the business. 

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Is There A Time Limit To File A Claim?

No, there is no time limit for filing a claim. You can file a claim at any time after the Unclaimed Property has been transferred to the State Controller’s Office.

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Where Do I Find The Claim Form?

If your property search is successful, a highlighted Property ID number will appear on the Search Results page next to your name and address. Click on the Property ID number link. This link will take you to the Property Details page. On that page, you will find a printable copy of the Claim Affirmation Form. Be sure to follow all of the instructions on the form.

If you have reason to believe that your property has been sent to the State Controller’s Office for safekeeping, but you did not find your property listed on our website, please contact the State Controller’s Office, Unclaimed Property Division at (800) 992-4647 for assistance.

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How Do I File A Claim?

Claim Electronically: If your claim is eligible, you will be given the option to file electronically after you have entered the requested information for your claim. For more information see About Electronic Claim Filing.

Mail Claim Form: If your claim is not eligible to be filed electronically, or you prefer to file a paper claim, you will be directed to print and mail in your claim form. To avoid delays in processing your claim, you MUST send us copies of the required documents as outlined in the filing instructions to determine rightful ownership. Claims cannot be filed via email or fax.

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Why Can't I Find My Property?

If you have reason to believe that your property has been sent to the State Controller’s Office for safekeeping, but you did not find your property listed on our website, please contact the State Controller’s Office, Unclaimed Property Division at (800) 992-4647 for assistance.

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Can I Print Out a Blank Claim Form?

No.  In order to process claims more efficiently and faster, each property is linked to a claim form coded with a unique claim number associated with that property.  When we receive the claim, it can be quickly scanned in and automatically put into our system for processing. If you find property that may belong to you on the Search Results page then simply click on the highlighted Property ID number and that will lead you to the Property Details page which has the claim form.  If you cannot find property that may belong to you, you may also call the Call Center at (800) 992-4647. 

All personal information submitted to SCO is secured against loss, damage, modification, unauthorized access, or disclosure as required by federal and California Law, and the State Administrative Manual policy. Appropriate computer, network, and Internet technical security controls at the employee and departmental level prevent unauthorized access to information voluntarily provided by you. The complete SCO website security policy is available at: http://sco.ca.gov/eo_privacy.html

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How Do I File A Claim For A Deceased Owner?

You may file a claim for the property of a deceased owner if you are an Heir, Trustee, or Personal Representative/Executor/Administrator. Please see the filing instructions for deceased owner claims for the documentation you will need to submit to prove ownership.

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Can I Claim All Of The Funds In A Jointly Owned Account?

Whether you can claim all the funds in a jointly owned account depends on how the property ownership was originally established. When you file a claim for property that is jointly owned, please include as much information and supporting documentation to show how you own the property so we can more easily make a determination if you are the rightful owner. Because of the complexities of such properties, we may have to contact you to request additional information.

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Can A Claim Be Filed Jointly With Another Owner?

Yes, if all owners sign the claim form and submit the necessary documentation to prove ownership.

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Can I Authorize A Power Of Attorney?

A Power of Attorney (POA) cannot be accepted instead of a claimant’s signature on the claim form or investigator agreement. The claim must be verified by the claimant per California Code of Civil Procedure, section 1540, subdivision (a). Exceptions may be considered in cases where a POA is necessitated by a medical condition that prevents a claimant from signing the claim form. In such a case, our legal office will determine whether or not to accept a POA. All claim packages signed by a POA that do not contain medical verification signed by a licensed physician will be denied without consideration.

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What Is A Property Identification Number?

The Property ID is a unique number assigned by our office when unclaimed property is entered into our database. This number is listed on the Search Results Page and is used on all forms, letters, and other communication relating to the property being held by the California State Controller's Office.

We recommend that each claimant keep a copy of the "Property Identification Number" and the "Claim Identification Number" in his or her records until the claim has been processed in full. These numbers are used by our office as a reference.

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What Is A Claim Identification Number?

The Claim ID is a unique number assigned by our office when you file an unclaimed property claim. This number is printed on the Claim Affirmation Form and is printed on all correspondence we send you about your claim package.

We recommend that each claimant keep a copy of the "Property Identification Number" and the "Claim Identification Number" in his or her records until the claim has been processed in full. These numbers are used by our office as a reference.

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Can I Use One Claim Form When Claiming Multiple Properties?

If you are claiming multiple properties, you may file one Claim Affirmation Form and attach a copy of the "Property Details" page for each additional property you are claiming. If there are multiple owners for any property, then each owner must either sign the Claim Affirmation Form or file a separate Claim Affirmation Form to receive his or her share of the property.

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How Will I Know If You Received My Claim?

You will be sent a "claim receipt letter" showing the date on which the claim was received by our office.

Or

If the claim can be verified and approved during our intake process, you will receive a warrant (state check) for your claim instead of a claim receipt letter.

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How Do I Report A Change Of Address?

If you move to another address after you file a claim, please Contact Us immediately so that we can update our records.

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What Documentation Is Required To Show As Proof Of My Name Change?

You will need to provide documents, such as a marriage certificate or court documents, that establish that you are the person whose name appears on the unclaimed property account. Please refer to the filing instructions for detailed information on the documentation we need in order to verify ownership.

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The Bank Will Not Honor My Old (Stale-Dated) Uncashed Check(s), Money Order(s), or Cashier's Check(s). How can I get my money back?

You must complete a Claim Affirmation Form, provide proof of identity, and enclose a copy of the original uncashed check. Once we have determined valid ownership, we will contact you and ask you to send us the original cashier’s check, money order, or check. Be sure to make and keep copies of these documents for your records. If you do not have the original document for any reason, please Contact Us for more information.

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Do I Need To Pay Taxes On My Property?

For advice and information concerning your specific tax situation, consult your tax advisor or legal counsel. Please note, the State Controller’s Office, Unclaimed Property Division does not withhold taxes from unclaimed property payments.

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Will I Receive A Form 1099?

The State Controller’s Office, Unclaimed Property Division, does not issue IRS Forms 1099 for stock accounts paid in cash or for dividends earned on stock accounts.  You may receive a Form 1099 if the property you received included interest, such as properties held by the state prior to August 2003 or settlement payments.  In these cases, the State Controller’s Office issues 1099 statements once a year, during the month of January. This form reports the amount of interest that the State Controller paid to a claimant in the tax year that the unclaimed property account was paid. 

If you believe your property included interest, and you did not receive a Form 1099, please contact the State Controller’s Office, Unclaimed Property Division at (800) 992-4647 for assistance.  For advice and information concerning your specific tax situation, consult your tax advisor or legal counsel.

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How Much Time Will It Take To Process My Claim?

We will make every effort to process your claim in a timely manner. Due to the large volume of claims being processed, the law allows up to 180 days, from the date that we receive a complete claim package to review all documentation and make a decision on whether or not the documentation supports the claim.

Property Owner Claims that involve cash only may be processed in as little as 30 to 60 days. More complex claims, such as those filed by heirs, involving multiple owners, or involving businesses are generally processed within 180 days. After the claim is approved, additional time is required for the payment of claims that involve securities because we must research the corporate activity (such as corporate mergers, acquisitions, stock splits, or dividends) that may affect the value of the security. Please allow us an additional 90 to 180 days to complete this research.

The State Controller's Office now offers an online system where you can check the status of an unclaimed property claim you have already submitted. If your claim information does not appear in our system immediately, we have not processed it yet. Please allow approximately 30 days from the date you mailed your claim package for processing before checking the status of your claim. Check your claim status now.

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Can You Electronically Deposit My Funds Into My Current Bank Account?

No. The State Controller's Office cannot transfer funds to your current bank account. Warrants (state checks) are mailed to the address provided on the claim form.

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How Are Stock (Security) Accounts Paid?

When the State receives securities, they are put into the State’s name, as required by California’s Unclaimed Property Law. The State returns securities to an owner or his or her heir by transferring the securities to the owner or by providing the net proceeds from the sale of the securities. The State Controller’s Office is required to sell securities no sooner than 18 months and no later than 20 months after the due date for reporting the securities to the State. (California Code of Civil Procedure Section 1563(b))

If your securities are being held by the State

To return securities to you, we must transfer them into an account registered in your name either through a transfer agent (a private company responsible for processing the company’s shares) or a mutual fund company, depending on the type of security.The transfer process can take 6-8 weeks.

  • Stocks: If your stocks are transferred to a transfer agent, the transfer agent company should send you a reference number and confirmation statement that notes the date on which the securities were transferred. At that time, they will request that you provide them with instructions on how you want them to manage or process your securities (sell them, open an account, or move them to a different broker). Please keep your reference number in your records. You will need this number when you contact the transfer agent about the securities.
  • Mutual Funds: Our office will send you the necessary paperwork to open an account at the mutual fund company so your funds can be transferred to you.

We will send you a letter notifying you when the securities are scheduled to be sent to the transfer agent or mutual fund. Once the State Controller's Office transfers the securities to the transfer agent/mutual fund company the State Controller’s office is no longer an owner of the securities and has no control or authority over the remaining process. Transfer agents/mutual funds take anywhere from 6 to 8 weeks to notify you that the transfer has occurred.

If your securities have been sold as required by California Unclaimed Property Law

You are entitled to receive the net proceeds of the sale and any dividends, interest, or other increments realized before the securities were sold. You or your heirs are entitled to the benefits from any corporate actions—such as dividends, mergers, splits, and spin-offs—taken by the issuing company while the State held the stock. (California Code of Civil Procedure, Title 10, Section 1563)

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Why Does It Take Longer To Receive Payment On Securities Claims?

Additional time is required for the payment of claims that involve securities because we must research the corporate activity (such as corporate mergers, acquisitions, stock splits, or dividends) that may affect the value of the security. Please allow us an additional 90 to 180 days to complete this research.

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