In California the state government currently holds about $5 billion in unclaimed money and this amount is increasing by up to $300 million a year. What does this have to do with you? Well, if you or a relative is or was a resident of the state, or had any business dealings with a California based company or the state government, some of that money could belong to you.
Under California law, abandoned or unclaimed assets such as bank and savings accounts, safe deposit boxes, tax refunds, gift certificates, undelivered salary checks, stock dividends and other such financial assets, if unclaimed for three years, are taken over by the Treasury Department and become part of the state’s general funds where they remain until the rightful owners are found.
The problem the state government has is that people move to new places without leaving a forwarding address. The government makes some efforts to trace these persons, but these are limited by the time and resources available. If you suspect that there may be money owing to you, or to a family member, visit the California State Controller’s website and use the resources there to do a search to find any money that may be due to you or your family. You can even do a search for a friend. If you find money due to you, there is a well laid down procedure for you to make the claim and get a windfall you never expected.
Even if you have not moved or changed your address for a long time, its worthwhile to do a search and see if money is due to you. You would be surprised at how easy it is to forget about assets and how often it happens. It’s the “I’m not so lucky” mentality that has resulted in California sitting on $5 billion of other peoples’ money.
Here’s an interesting fact. Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Jennifer Lopez, Keanu Reeves and Adam Sandler are among the many names that appear, or have appeared, on the state’s unclaimed money list. If the government was not able to locate them, what makes you think they would have been able to locate you? Make the effort to search for money that may be yours. You never know what you could find.
You have a few options for which database to use to conduct your search:
1. Use an “All-in-One” database
This is the best option for conducting your unclaimed funds search. An all in one database has money from all 50 states and federal databases. Usually an all in one site will offer free searches to make sure you are owed money before accessing the database.
2. See which accounts are yours by looking at the account type, address associated with the missing money account and other information that will let you know it is your account.
3. Once you have identified the unclaimed property accounts owed to you all you have to do is print a claim for and submit it with the require proof of identification. Proof of identification is usually copies of a driver’s license or state issued ID card and a birth certificate or social security card.
The claim review process takes anywhere from 2 to 16 weeks depending on the state or agency you are submitting the claim to.
If you have a problem with your claim call the agency and request to speak to the unclaimed property division.
Now you are armed with all you need to know about unclaimed property. So go find and claim yours today!