A Guide to Finding Unclaimed Money in California

How would you feel if you suddenly realized that you have tens, hundreds, or even thousands of dollars that you didn’t even know about? It sounds like a movie scenario, but it can easily become a reality if you find your name in your state’s unclaimed money database. 

If California is your state of residence—or if it was—you may be surprised to learn that its State Controller holds more than $9.3 billion in unclaimed property! The state keeps returning millions in long-forgotten funds to Californians daily, but there’s still plenty of money that needs to find the way to its rightful owners. 

The following article reveals the best way to check whether you are entitled to a part of this treasure and the quickest method to retrieve your forgotten properties.


What Does Unclaimed Money Refer To?

One can define unclaimed money as financial assets or properties taken over by the state because their owners couldn’t be found. It usually comes from banks or other financial institutions or corporations, which need to report any funds that nobody collected within a certain period.

Each state has a specific dormancy period. In California, you can retrieve your uncollected money from the institution that holds it temporarily within three years for most assets. If the owner doesn’t collect the money within this time frame, the state considers these funds abandoned and keeps holding them until the owner files a claim.

What Counts as Unclaimed Money?

Unclaimed funds come in numerous forms, but it’s easiest to divide them into two main categories—tangible and intangible.

The following table shows what each of these groups includes:

Intangible Property Tangible Property
  • Gold
  • Silver
  • Coins
  • Pictures
  • Diamonds
  • Works of art
  • Other items found in safe deposit boxes

How To Find Unclaimed Money in California on Your Own

The main channel through which you can track down your unclaimed funds is the California State Controller’s official website. You can search through the entire unclaimed money database on this platform, including all 58 state counties.

How To Check for Unclaimed Money in California via State Controller’s Website

To start the search process, follow these instructions:

  1. Go to the official website and select the Unclaimed Property tab
  2. Click on Search for Unclaimed Property 
  3. Search the database by your first and last name
  4. Add your middle initial and city if you want to narrow your search
  5. Comb through the matches found and identify assets that belong to you

Make sure you check all results as you may find more than one unclaimed money source. Once you find all of them, it’s time to file a claim and retrieve the funds.

How To File a Claim via the State Controller’s Website

You can file a claim in two ways—online and via mail.

An online claim procedure involves the following steps:

  1. Click on the Property ID next to the property you want to reclaim
  2. Revise the details and select Claim This Property to access the electronic claim form
  3. Input the necessary information such as your phone number, Social Security number, physical, and email address
  4. Click on Continue

In case you have more than one property to claim, you need to repeat these steps for each item. You should also provide copies of certain documents that can confirm your identity and residence.

If you don’t mind going to the post office, you can mail your claim along with the supporting documentation to the following address:

Unclaimed Property Division 

P.O. Box 942850

Sacramento, CA 94250-5873

Once you submit a full claim along with the necessary documents, the State Controller’s office will need up to 180 days to process the information and pay the requested amount.

How To Get Unclaimed Money From California With DoNotPay

Finding unclaimed money doesn’t have to be a long and tedious procedure, as DoNotPay can help you deal with it in no time. With our comprehensive search tool, you can find unclaimed money under your name anywhere, as it doesn’t only include California but also all other federal and state databases. 

If you want to try the easier way, open DoNotPay in any web browser and do the following:

  1. Search for the Missing Money option
  2. Type your full name and address, as well as previous addresses
  3. Check the results to find the funds that belong to you

Once you find unclaimed money under your name, use the Claim My Property option to allow us to file a claim on your behalf. We will do the rest—you only need to relax and wait for your funds to reach you.

How To Prevent Your Money From Getting Lost

Now when you know what unclaimed funds include and how much you can lose by forgetting them, it’s time to share several handy tips that can help you prevent your money from becoming unclaimed in the future:

  • Write your will and ensure your heirs can be contacted after your death
  • Keep your bank accounts active so that they don’t close or become dormant 
  • Transfer all funds to a new account in a new bank if your bank closes down
  • Chase your paychecks and unpaid commissions from your previous employers
  • Make sure you inform the institutions that hold funds under your name about all address or name changes
  • Recall all the places where you have safe deposit boxes and take over their contents if you are planning to move to another state
  • Keep thorough records of all stocks or dividends you possess, existing accounts, unused gift card credits, and other property types

What Else Can DoNotPay Do?

Apart from teaching you how to deal with unclaimed funds in California, DoNotPay also has practical advice for retrieving your forgotten properties in Oklahoma, New Jersey, South Dakota, Washington, or anywhere in the USA. Find out how you can obtain your unpaid pension money, child support funds, or money from Paypal, Wells Fargo, or Bank of America.

Dealing with bureaucracy and tiresome paperwork isn’t an easy task, which is why we do our best to provide you with useful tips that can help you save time. DoNotPay can be your mediator in all those situations when you don’t want to get in touch with companies on your own or whenever you need legal assistance or a valuable piece of advice.

Discover all our features by accessing DoNotPay from any web browser and get help with the following tasks: