Make Money Fa$t Reminder:

A colleague of mine whom I e-mailed about the California unclaimed property search site reports, "thanks again for the tip on unclaimed property a bit ago! I got a check for $265 over the weekend!" It thus sounds like you can do more than just claim your unclaimed money -- you can actually get it back. So if you've lived in California, check out this California government site.

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Truth Seeker:
When I handled a probate I checked the decedent's name on the unclaimed property site for my state (I think they all have them) and found $2000 due him. Made a little extra fee for filing the claim forms for the estate. Everyone doing a probate should check it.
6.19.2007 10:52pm
Hmmmm, supposedly I am owed $76.90. I have filed, but I will believe it when I see it.
6.20.2007 7:39am
California's unclaimed property site is legally interesting as well. The state, like most, is exploring ways of making escheatment (in this case, of seizing unclaimed property after an appropriate passage of time) into an important element of the state budget. Recently the state seized shares of Intel securities (a Delaware corp) held by a Londoner, without his knowledge, on the grounds that the property was "unclaimed" because he had not changed his address or voted in a proxy in 3 years. He sued to get it back, and the state offered him the money is originally paid for the shares (in the late '90s, before a significant appreciation had occurred). Turns out that the state had simply sold the shares and moved the money into its coffers, contrary to law. He sued, and the state claimed 11th amendment immunity, inter alia. The 9th Circuit held that the state was not immune from suit.

Anyway, modern escheatment as a budgetary item is a pretty interesting area of state policy.
6.20.2007 11:46am
Mark Eckenwiler:
The official website for the association of the state unclaimed property programs (NAUPA) is here. It links both to a communal database of 35 states' records -- searchable at one go -- and to all the individual state databases, including those not in the communal system.

To be clear, these sites are not run by "finder services" who take a cut of the proceeds. Use of the gov't search facilities is completely free. (Chalk up another one for Internet disintermediation.)
6.20.2007 3:26pm