Whenever any person confined in any state institution subject to the jurisdiction of the Director of Corrections dies, and no demand or claim is made upon the director or his or her designee for the body of the deceased inmate by the inmate’s next of kin or legally appointed representative, the director shall dispose of the body by cremation or burial no sooner than 10 calendar days after the inmate’s death. The director or his or her designee may waive the 10-day waiting period for disposal of the deceased inmate’s body if confirmation is received that the inmate’s next of kin, or legally appointed representative, refuses to take possession of the body. If any personal funds or property of that person remains in the custody or possession of the Director of Corrections, the funds shall be applied to the payment of his or her cremation or burial expenses and related charges in an amount not exceeding those expenses and charges. If no demand or claim is made upon the director by the owner of the funds or property or his or her legally appointed representative, the director shall hold and dispose of those funds or property as follows:
(a) If the decedent leaves a will, the director shall, within 30 days after the date of death of the decedent, deliver the will to the clerk of the superior court having jurisdiction of the estate. If an executor is named in the will, the director shall furnish him or her written notice of the delivery of the will as provided in this section.
(b) All money or other personal property of the decedent remaining in the custody or possession of the director shall be held by him or her for a period of one year from the date of death of the decedent, for the benefit of the heirs, legatees or successors in interest of that decedent.
(c) Upon the expiration of the one-year period, any money remaining unclaimed in the custody or possession of the director shall be delivered by him or her to the Treasurer for deposit in the Unclaimed Property Fund under Article 1 (commencing with Section 1440) of Chapter 6 of Title 10 of Part 3 of the Code of Civil Procedure.
(d) Upon the expiration of the one-year period, all personal property and documents of the decedent, other than cash, remaining unclaimed in the custody or possession of the director, shall be disposed of as follows:
(1) All deeds, contracts, or assignments shall be filed by the director with the public administrator of the county of commitment of the decedent.
(2) All other personal property shall be sold by the director at public auction, or upon a sealed-bid basis, and the proceeds of the sale delivered by him or her to the Treasurer in the same manner as is provided in this section with respect to unclaimed money of the decedent. If he or she deems it expedient to do so, the director may accumulate the property of several decedents and sell the property in such lots as he or she may determine, provided that he or she makes a determination as to each decedent’s share of the proceeds.
(3) If any personal property of the decedent is not salable at public auction, or upon a sealed-bid basis, or if it has no intrinsic value, or if its value is not sufficient to justify the deposit of the property in the State Treasury, the director may order it destroyed.
(4) All other unclaimed personal property of the decedent not disposed of as provided in paragraph (1), (2), or (3), shall be delivered by the director to the Controller for deposit in the State Treasury under Article 1 (commencing with Section 1440) of Chapter 6 of Title 10 of Part 3 of the Code of Civil Procedure.
(Amended by Stats. 1996, Ch. 805, Sec. 4. Effective January 1, 1997.)
Last modified: October 25, 2018