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    Claiming Your Lost Property Will Get Easier

    By Assemblymember Phil Ting–

    Thousands, if not millions, of people could have money or valuables in state custody that they may not realize is theirs. The California Controller’s Office is holding more than 70 million unclaimed properties worth nearly $12 billion, waiting for their rightful owners to get them. The assets could be from forgotten bank, stock, and bond accounts; wages owed; insurance benefits; or contents of an abandoned safe deposit box.

    Could you be one of them? While the state makes an effort to find people, they’re not always successful. Luckily, you can search the database yourself. Visit

    Then enter your information and see what steps you need to take for submitting a claim, if you find something under your name. Documentation is required.

    It’s understandable how we can lose track of things. We move around and change addresses, or we just forget. That’s why California’s Unclaimed Property Program was created in 1959. It protects consumers by preventing businesses from keeping property that belongs to customers they’re no longer in contact with. State law mandates they hand the items over to the Controller’s Office until the owners are found. In the 2021–22 fiscal year alone, more than a billion dollars had been turned in.

    As recently as September, 22,000 people were reconnected with their valuables, totaling $41 million. But, it’s not an easy process to reclaim property because of the amount of paperwork needed, and in some cases, a notary is required.

    In fact, the Legislative Analyst Office found many owners give up on filing a claim midway through because the steps are overly burdensome and time-consuming. The report also noted that much of the documentation was unnecessary.

    The good news is my bill, AB 1208, will make it easier starting on January 1, 2023, for Californians to be reunited with their long-lost money or valuables. There’s no reason for the system to be complicated, especially since 75 percent of the claims are under $1,000 and belong to just one owner. I thank the governor for signing the proposal.

    My legislation directs the State Controller’s Office to streamline the claims process by:

    • Requiring less extensive documentation for claims under $5,000;
    • Allowing for electronic submission of documentation for all claims;
    • Permitting direct deposit for monetary claims.

    Nearly one in three visitors to the ClaimIt website finds property, and the average payout last year was $433. With global inflation squeezing our wallets these days, it may be worth a few minutes of your time to check if the state is safeguarding something for you. You can also call the Controller’s Office at 1-800-992-4647, Monday through Friday from 8 am–5 pm, except on holidays.

    Phil Ting represents the 19th Assembly District, which includes the Westside of San Francisco and portions of South San Francisco along with the communities of Broadmoor, Colma, and Daly City.

    Assemblymember Phil Ting
    Published on November 17, 2022