Unclaimed money from forgotten bank accounts, un-cashed checks and unclaimed tax refunds may be retrieved by submitting a paper or electronic request to the Department of Treasury of the respective state of residency. Each state has a searchable database enabling persons to search for unclaimed money that they, their friends or family may be entitled to.
In the 2012-2013 fiscal year alone, nearly 500,000 unclaimed properties were returned to their rightful owners in the state of California, according to data from the State Controller's Office. Since businesses and individuals are not allowed by law to inherit money intended for other persons, unclaimed properties must be surrendered to the government for the proper party until they are claimed.
To see if a person has unclaimed property, individuals can visit their respective state's Department of Treasury website; the National Association of State Treasurers provides state-by-state links at unclaimed.org. Each database includes all cataloged properties returned to the state by name of ownership. The agency the money is coming from is provided; some states may also give an approximate amount of the unclaimed property. Each website contains the appropriate forms for download owners are required to submit to the Treasurer in claiming available properties they have discovered.