How to claim your unclaimed money

You’ve found unclaimed money — congrats! Although you probably feel great right now after finding missing money, you still need to take steps to claim your property from the state and get it into your hands.

Read on to learn exactly what the steps are to claim money in your name. Note that if you are claiming money for your business or a deceased relative, the steps may differ.

Step 1: Go to the right website.

When it comes to claiming unclaimed money, the process can vary by state. In other words, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to getting your money. Even so, the first step to claiming your money is to go to the appropriate website.

Step 2: Get your documents in order.

If you’ve found missing money in your name and want to claim it, you’ll need to verify your identity.

The requirements may vary by state, but some documents you need may include the following:

  • A state-issued I.D., like a driver’s license

  • Proof of Social Security number, such as a copy of your Social Security card or IRS Form W-2

  • Proof of the address associated with the property you’re claiming, such as a utility bill

  • Proof of your current address

These documents help verify your full name and address to confirm you’re the rightful owner of the missing money. Some states will accept copies of documentation, while other states will require originals.

Step 3: File a claim.

Once you’ve gone to the right website and have your documents ready, it’s time for the fun part: Filing a claim so you can get your missing money.

The first step is to carefully read the claim instructions on your state-specific site. Some states don’t allow for electronic submissions, whereas some allow you to file online if you meet certain conditions.

For example, residents of California can file online if the amount is less than $5,000 and they are the sole owner of the missing money. If the unclaimed money is owned by multiple parties, each owner needs to sign a Claim Affirmation Form and the money will be split among the parties.

If you can’t file online, you’ll need to mail a claim form along with additional documentation to verify your identity.

In some cases, if you’re owed more than $1,000 and can’t file online, you may need to print the claim form and get it notarizedGive us a call (213) 308-1956, we’ll be happy to help!

You then need to mail the form to the address specified in your state’s claim instructions.

Here’s a quick chart on how each state accepts claim forms:

Claims methods by state: Mail or online

Note: If you submit online, you may receive your funds faster. However, not every state allows you to submit a claim online. Even if you can fill out the claim forms online, you may need to send those forms and other documentation by mail.

For California: The filing instructions are available at the State Controller’s website https://www.sco.ca.gov/upd_form_claim.html

Step 4: Wait for your check.

Once you found missing money and submitted your documentation either online or via snail mail, you must now wait for your check to arrive.

Unfortunately, this can vary widely by state. It can take two weeks from the date you filed your claim, or more than six months in some cases. Sometimes, you may not know how much you’re getting back.

Bottom line

If you are eligible for unclaimed money, be sure to follow the instructions provided by your state and submit relevant documentation. Depending on your claim and the specific state, it may be processed in a short time — or could take a while longer.

Whatever the case may be, it will be good to get your money back from the state — and back in your pocket.

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