I would like to be a non-resident unclaimed property finder (investigator) for California residents. I would charge a fee to help residents claim their property or cash. Is it legal to make initial contact with California residents to help them claim their property with the state? Can this be a profitable business although people can claim property for free? Do unclaimed property finders make a decent living doing this in the US?
Intellectual Property Law Attorney
Be careful. This may subject you to jurisdiction in California. Expect to get sued in California if you do this and to have that enforced against you in IL.
I am not your lawyer and you are not my client. Free advice here is without recourse and any reliance thereupon is at your sole risk. This is done without compensation as a free public service. I am licensed in IL, MO, TX and I am a Reg. Pat. Atty. so advice in any other jurisdiction is strictly general advice and should be confirmed with an attorney licensed in that jurisdiction.
My colleague is right--contacting California residents from Illinois for the purposes of "helping them claim unclaimed property for a fee" would subject you to the jurisdiction of California state (and Federal District) courts. Your contact with residents of California would, and no pun intended here, amount to "sufficient minimum contacts" with the state of California and giving rise to personal jurisdiction over you in a California court. I think, however, the placement of this question in the "Intellectual Property" category was an oversight--you're obviously not helping people find their lost patents, ©s , or TMs....Simply tangible personal property and cash, correct? If so, you may find more meaningful responses in another category on AVVO.
Matthew J. Kading
Alchemy IP Law Group
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