In 2014, Choice Plus LLC, one of the most reputable and respected unclaimed property firms in the States, participated in an independent public records request from all 50 states and Washington, DC. The requested information included the amount of unclaimed property the states received and the amount they returned each year, going as far back in date as they had records available. Three states failed to fully comply with this request. According to the state data that was received, states are holding approximately $56 billion.
The National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA) estimates that perhaps $100 billion has yet to be documented.
What you can expect when working with Choice Plus LLC.
Choice Plus LLC has a leading knowledge of unclaimed property laws in California. Our reputation as an industry leader is due to our impressive array of successes in resolving complex cases and circumstances. Our network of attorneys and researchers are here to help you document you ownership and enforce your rights so that your unclaimed assets and funds are returned to you.
Unclaimed Property in California
The State of California is currently in possession of more than $7.1 billion in unclaimed property. California estimates that these funds belong to 27.9 million individuals and organizations.
Approximately 1 in 6 Californians own unclaimed property. Unfortunately, thousands of these individuals are either unaware, unwilling, or unable to reclaim these unclaimed property funds. This is generally due to the complexity of the reclamation process, and the lack of financial resources necessary to prove their ownership of the unclaimed property.
The State of California acquires unclaimed property through the Unclaimed Property Law, which requires “holders” such as business associations, corporations, and other various financial institutions to annually report and deliver property to the California controller’s office after there has no activity or customer contact on a account for a period of time. Owners often forget that the account exists, lose the information regarding the account, or move without leaving a forwarding address, causing people to lose track of property due to them. In some cases as well, the owner dies and the heirs are unaware of the property.
Getting Help to Reclaim Your Unclaimed Property in California
State unclaimed property administrators in California that are able to provide valuable services to the public to help them locate and recover their unclaimed property — usually at no cost. However, there are some limitations to the amount of free support they are able to provide.
For instance, state unclaimed property administrators cannot and will not pay for legal advice, court filing fees, translators, certified records, genealogical research, lost instrument bonds, etc. Additionally, the fact that their services are free of charge instills little incentive to apply extra effort on the behalf of the claimant.
This is where our reclamation and support services are able to help you. Our team is highly skilled in the field of reclaimed, abandoned, or unclaimed property and assets. We advance all the necessary financial resources to probate estates, petition the court for determination of entitlement, translations, locating missing or difficult to find ownership records. Our domestic and global resources are ready to connect you with your unclaimed property account and assist in your reclamation effort.
Choice Plus has one of the highest unclaimed property recovery rates in the nation. In the fiscal year 2012-2013 we were successful in recovering 97.5% of the $12 Million in unclaimed property claimed on behalf of our clients.
What is unclaimed property?
Unclaimed property in California are assets that are presumed to have been lost or abandoned because the holder has not had contact with the owner for a period of time. This time period is known as a dormancy period. Dormancy periods vary by asset type.
Examples of Unclaimed Property
Unclaimed property can include any type of unclaimed assets, funds, or properties. Some examples of common unclaimed property is as follows;
- The contents of a safety deposit box
- Inheritance (both money or properties)
- Securities and Mutual Funds
- Unclaimed inherited items, such as valuable collections or heirlooms
Examples of Unclaimed Money or Unclaimed Funds
Unclaimed money is the most common type of unclaimed property. Unclaimed funds can be actual cash, certificates of deposit, or even banking accounts. Here are some examples of unclaimed money that we regularly reclaim for our clients;
- Savings or checking accounts
- Uncashed dividends or payroll checks
- Traveler’s checks
- Insurance payments or refunds
- Certificates of deposit
- Customer overpayments
- Utility security deposits
- Mineral royalty payments
While the list above gives the most frequent forms of unclaimed funds, there are other types of unclaimed money that can be retrieved In California.
Examples of Unclaimed Assets
While often used synonymously with ‘unclaimed property’, unclaimed assets can refer to a broader range of abandoned or unclaimed property. This term is primarily for unclaimed items that have a cash value, but is not actual money. Here are a few examples;
- Life insurance policies
- Trust distributions
- Unredeemed money orders or gift certificates
Why are there unclaimed properties?
Why are there all of these unclaimed properties? The reasons may vary. Individuals may lose track of assets for any of the following reasons;
- A change of residence or business occurs, but an address change was not completed or provided
- A check is received but accidentally discarded, misplaced, destroyed, or forgotten
- An owner passes away without a will or without leaving information as to the distribution of his/her assets, leaving relatives unaware of various properties (safety deposit box, stocks, bank account, etc)
- A clerical error alters the address or name of a recipient, causing mail to be returned as undeliverable
- An owner forgets about the money or asset
- Parents or grandparents establish an account in the name(s) of minor children, but forget about the accounts. Children are typically unaware of these funds until they receive some form of notice
- Funds or assets are lost during business acquisitions, mergers, bankruptcies, and dissolution
- A customer overpays on an account, or sends a payment without giving indication as to what account those funds should be deposited into
The person that has a legal or equitable interest in property or the person’s legal representative is able to claim these unclaimed assets. The term ‘owner’ can include a depositor in the case of a deposit, a beneficiary in the case of a trust or will, and a creditor, claimant, or payee for other forms of unclaimed property.
Regaining Unclaimed Property
While thousands of owners in California file claims each year, approximately 60% of those claims fail. Why is this?
It may be that the claim fails due to lack of evidence, resources, holder reporting errors or omissions, insufficient knowledge of the what is required to enforce owner’s rights, or the failure on the part of the government to apply rules and laws correctly. The laws in California that govern unclaimed property are quite complex.
This is why you may need to get in touch with an experienced team to walk you through the challenges presented by all the statutes, codes, and rules governing unclaimed property administration, administrative appeals, probate, property ownership rights, business organizations, rules of evidence, marriage and divorce, adoption, international embargoes, rules of civil procedures, bankruptcy, constitutional issues, etc.
Our Unclaimed Property Service Fees
Because our services include, but are not limited to, advancing capital, documenting ownership, resolving holder reporting errors and omissions, facilitating estate administration and civil actions, overturning adverse claim determinations made by unclaimed property administrators. Fees include all costs to prove entitlement, legal fees and related expenses.
Our guarantee to you is that you pay nothing if your unclaimed property is not returned to you. Payment is contingent upon you receiving your unclaimed property.
At Choice Plus, LLC, we provide you with a convenient alternative to unclaimed property reclamation. If you work with us, you will have an entire team working to file your claim and advocate your rights. Our company has earned the respect of our peers and has developed valuable relationships with unclaimed property administrators, attorneys, and other professionals. As we have overcome numerous challenges for our clients, facilitating the return of over $50 million dollars, our experience can provide you with peace of mind.
Partner with success. Contact Choice Plus, LLC today for more information.