California is one of the biggest recipients of unclaimed property. This pile is growing unabated with almost 11.6 million individuals still unaware of their unclaimed cash or property. As a viable solution to this unmanageable situation, the state of California has enacted Unclaimed Property Law that requires property holders such as corporations, business associations, financial institutions and insurance companies to annually report and return dormant property to the State Controller’s Office. As of the last estimate, about $600 million are collected by the California state unclaimed funds division annually.
In a recent report by an NBC news affiliate in San Diego, a North Park woman was able to claim $200,000 of California unclaimed money. “It was shares of stock,” said Deborah Brueggeman and that she had apparently inherited them from an uncle who was now deceased. One of the popular news stories regarding the unclaimed funds in California was about the Oprah Winfrey show; In one of her episodes related to the unclaimed funds, Oprah managed to unite $70,000 with the rightful owners in the audience.
It might sound unbelievable, considering the grim economic situation, but almost $300 million is pumped into the unclaimed money vault every year in California, which is approximately $5 billion annually. By law, the States General Fund of California is the recipient of all the unclaimed cash and the accrued interest. The accrued interest goes towards the development programs.
Home to some of the largest volume of immigrant workers and a great weather, California is also blessed with some the most amazing natural wonders and a great weather all year round. This makes it’s a great place to work as well as retire for a lot of people. Considering its undisputed status as an economic hub, California is also home to a large volume of unaccounted and missing money and property.
The highly mobile workforce results in so many unclaimed funds and tax benefits, not to speak of the dormant bank accounts and other employment related funds. It is difficult for the government to track the movement of its extremely mobile workforce leading to the unprecedented growth of unclaimed funds.
Incorporation of pro-consumer laws regarding unclaimed property has been enacted and functionaries like Steve Wesley, State Controller for California is trying their best to reform the system in favor of the citizens.