How to Claim Unclaimed Money in California

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As a California resident, you might have money coming and not even know it. When tax refunds, bank accounts and other assets go unclaimed, they are turned over to the state, and it is the job of the California Controller's Office to locate the owners of those assets. Even though the Controller's Office makes an attempt to contact the rightful owners of those assets, your own property could fall through the cracks unless you proactively look for it.

  • Go to the website maintained by the California State Controller's Office. Click on the "Search for Unclaimed Property" link.

  • Click "Start your search" and enter the information requested. You will need to enter your first and last name, as well as a maiden name if you want it included in the search.

  • Check the results of your search. Download and complete the Unclaimed Property Claim Affirmation form if you feel that the property identified in the search belongs to you, to a deceased relative or to a business or government agency for which you have authority.

  • Go back to the main California Controller's Office website and click on "Claim Filing Instructions." Click the appropriate link depending on which type of claim you wish to file (individual, business, government agency).

  • Make copies of the requested documentation to submit with your claim. You will need to provide a copy of your state-issued driver's license or another suitable form of identification, such as a passport, if no driver's license is available. You will also need to provide a copy of your Social Security card or an alternative form of identification.

  • Check the estimated value of the property in the unclaimed property database. If the value of the property is more than $1,000, you will need to have the claim form notarized before submitting it.

  • Submit the required documents, along with the unclaimed property claim form, to the California Controller's Office. Be sure to make copies of all your documents before you submit the form.

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  • Photo Credit Robert Kirk/Photodisc/Getty Images
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