California State Controller's seal

About Claiming For Investigators

How do I submit a claim as an Investigator?

A claim package should include the following:

  • A properly executed Standard Investigator Agreement, signed and dated by the investigator and each claimant. 
    • The agreement does not need to be notarized.
  • A completed Claim for Abandoned Property form for each claimant.
    • The form should be duplicated onto yellow paper to ensure that investigator claims can be easily identified by our office upon receipt. You will find a copy of this form in 'Appendix B' of our Investigator Handbook
  • The claimant must sign and date the claim form.
    • If the total value of the cash properties is $1,000 or more, claimant’s signature must be notarized.
      All claims for securities and safe-deposit box properties must be notarized.
  • A document that shows proof of the claimant’s SSN/tax identification number must be provided with the claim package.  If the claimant is a foreign citizen and does not have a SSN, certification of foreign status is required by providing us with U.S. Government Internal Revenue Service form number W-8 BEN. Proof of an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) in lieu of a W-8 BEN is also acceptable.

A claim package that does not contain all documents needed to validate the claim may be returned to the investigator with a letter describing the additional documentation needed. 

Please review the filing instructions before submitting a claim.  The documentation needed will vary based on the type of property being claimed and the relationship of the claimant to the reported owner of the property.  Once a complete claim package is received, the property is removed from our Web site while the claim is being processed.

View and print the filing instructions and documentation needed to substantiate your claim.

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When can an Investigator enter into a contract to file a claim?

An Investigator may not enter into a contract with potential owners of abandoned property until after either, (a) the abandoned property has been in the State Controller's Office possession for at least 12 months, or (b) until after the State Controller's Office publishes a notice in a newspaper of general circulation. This means you may not enter into a contract to retrieve property based on the Unclaimed Property notification (pre-escheat letter) sent to owners advising them of a pending transfer of their property to the State Controller’s Office by the business.

Records of the State Controller's Office pertaining to unclaimed property are not available for public inspection or copying until after publication of notice of the property or, if publication of notice of the property is not required, until one year after delivery of the property to the State Controller's Office (California Code of Civil Procedure).

The State Controller's Office generally publishes notices in June/July of each year, which is the time period that most abandoned property remit reports are due from holders. You may call our office in late April to obtain the exact date of publication. Information on estates of deceased persons is not subject to time restrictions.

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Can I enter into a contract with a potential property owner to get property listed on a pre-escheat notice letter or on the State Controller’s Office website that is still in the possession of the business?

No. Under the California Code of Civil Procedure (Title 10, Chapter 7, Section 1582) an Investigator may not enter into a contract with a property owner to locate, deliver, recover, or assist in the recovery of property that is pending transfer from the business to the State Controller’s Office (SCO) after the business has identified the property in its Notice Report filed with the SCO. An Investigator may only legally enter into contract to assist a property owner after the property is transferred to the SCO and the SCO has published a notice in a newspaper of general circulation. Any agreement with a property owner to assist in recovering the property entered into between the date the Notice Report is filed and the date of publication is invalid.

Publication of notice can occur anytime within one year after remittance of the property to the SCO. Typically, when a Notice Report is filed with the SCO before November 1 (for example, October 31), newspaper publication occurs sometime in June of the following year. In this example, in accordance with Section 1582, no contract entered into during the period of October 31, 2012, and June 2013, an 8-month period, is valid. This means any such contract entered into is legally invalid and will not be honored by the Controller and is unenforceable against the owner by a court of law.

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Can Investigators file claim packages electronically?

No. Claims cannot be filed online, via email, fax, or other electronic format because we need original signatures. Mail your information to:

State Controller’s Office
Unclaimed Property Division
P.O. Box 942850
Sacramento, CA 94250-5873

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Can I use one claim form when claiming multiple properties for a client?

When claiming multiple properties for one client, you may file one Claim Affirmation Form and attach a copy of the Property Details for each additional property claimed.

If there are multiple owners for any property, each owner must either sign the Claim Affirmation Form or file a separate Claim Affirmation Form.

If the documentation necessary to verify ownership is missing, the claim package will be returned to the Investigator. The package may be resubmitted once all requirements are met.

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Can I mail claim packets for multiple clients in a single envelope?

Yes. Organized, referenced, and indexed claim packets for different claimants can be mailed together in one (1) envelope. We will open the envelopes and separate the claim packages accordingly.

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How can I help to ensure the claims I file are processed as quickly as possible?

It is our policy to process claims in a timely manner; properly assembled claim packages expedite this process.

  • Documentation for complex claims should be organized, referenced, and indexed to facilitate the claim evaluation process.
  • Use our recommended Standard Investigator Agreement. If a claim package is submitted with a non-standard Investigator Agreement the evaluation process is delayed because of the extra staff time required to analyze the agreement to ensure conformity with California law. Investigator Agreements not in conformance with the law will be rejected and the claim package will be returned to you.

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Can the owner relinquish the property to another person?

You may include a notarized letter from the owner stating their wish to relinquish the property to another person; however, a claim for the reported owner must still be submitted with all the necessary proof of ownership.

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Can I submit a Power of Attorney (POA) for owners who cannot sign the claim form?

We only accept a Power of Attorney (POA) that conveys power over the owner’s finances or property accompanied with a letter from a medical doctor stating the person is incapacitated. Claims that have these POA’s are sent to our legal office for final approval so the processing time will take longer to allow for the legal review. Claims signed by a Court Appointed Guardian are acceptable as long as they include the proof of guardianship and do not require legal review.

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