A recent article published in the Los Angeles Times addresses “Selling What the Dead Leave Behind”.
If you die in Los Angeles County without a will or heirs, your belongings will probably end up in a warehouse in the City of Industry. There, the walls are stacked with hundreds of wooden crates. County employees and private auctioneers divide the contents into lots and sell them at daylong auctions held on the second Saturday of the month, typically 10 times a year. Proceeds go back into the estate and often are used to cover burial expenses and other costs. Whatever is left goes to the state of California.