Skip to main content

Abandoned Property

This guide provides laws, books and other resources on the topic of real and personal property which is lost or abandoned.

Research from Home

If you have a library account in good standing, you can check out an OverDrive e-Book title or access our remote databases. Don't have a library account? Texas residents can register for a library account from home! Learn more about how to register from home.

For more information on your topic, please try searching our eBook collection or electronic databases.

Resources at the State Law Library

Below are some of the library resources that can provide further guidance on this topic. The Texas State Law Library has many other resources in addition to the highlights we present below. Please call us at (512) 463-1722 if you have any questions about these materials.

Who Can I Contact?

These organizations may be able to assist with some issues surrounding unclaimed or abandoned personal property.

About This Guide

Many often wonder what to do with property if the owner appears to have abandoned it. This guide will assist you in identifying relevant statutes and other materials to research this topic. Do note, however, that sometimes it is unclear whether the property is truly abandoned and you will need to consult an attorney for a definitive answer. 

Texas Law

Below you will find references to areas of the Texas laws that govern abandoned property. If you find these statutes difficult to understand, you may want to view the "plain English" resources on this page or speak to an attorney.

Federal Law

Federal laws on abandoned property primarily refer to archaeological artifacts that a person may find and wish to keep. In some cases, unauthorized removal of artifacts is illegal. Below are the major federal statutes which concern artifact excavation or removal. 

Explained in "Plain English"

Because Texas and federal law may not be easy to understand, below you'll find a collection of resources that help to explain the law in "plain English."

Agency Regulations

Some state agencies are required to accept reports of abandoned property and administer a claims or disposition process. Below are regulations from the Texas Administrative Code for the relevant agencies

Legal Research Guides from the Texas State Law Library

The Texas State Law Library reference librarians have compiled legal research guides for specific areas of the law. These guides contain resources that can help you research a legal issue. The American Association of Law Libraries has a guide for Non-Lawyers on How to Research a Legal Problem [PDF]. If you have any questions, please contact us at (512) 463-1722 or at


The information provided on this page has been prepared for general information purposes only and should not be construed as, nor substituted for, legal advice. It is strongly recommended that you contact an attorney for advice specific to your fact situation. Your local bar association or the State Bar of Texas Lawyer Referral Information Service (1-800-252-9690) can assist you with locating an attorney.

Some of the electronic resources we refer to in this guide may be in PDF format. Adobe Reader or similar software is required to view PDFs.

Ask a Librarian

If you need help with a reference question, you may ask a librarian...

  (844) 829-2843 (toll-free) or (512) 463-1722
  Visit us at 205 W. 14th St in Austin
  PO Box 12367, Austin, TX 78711-2367