All unclaimed assets taken in by the controller's office can be reviewed online by going to the website Claimit.ca.gov. All you do is enter your name and see what comes up.
Tibbets filled out some paperwork, waited a few months for the documents to be verified and received her check.
"It's totally doable," she said. "Very easy."
I asked Prudential why it didn't hand over the money to Tibbets after her father died in 1999.
Sheila Bridgeforth, a company spokeswoman, declined to comment but said Prudential believes that "there is nothing more important than honoring our obligations to our policyholders."
And that's no doubt why they settled with California last year to the tune of about $47 million.
It's a chronic annoyance: You call a company and the automated switchboard instructs you to listen to the entire message "because our menu options have recently changed."
Are companies really changing their menu options this often?
"That's a good question," said Madelyn Gengelbach, director of market intelligence for InContact, an automated switchboard provider. "I also hear that message routinely."
She said many companies actually do fiddle with their menu options to improve customer service, but some simply want to keep people from getting anywhere near a human being. So they try to trick you into hearing the whole message in hopes that you'll accept some automated response to your issue.
"There are certainly organizations where that's the norm," said Liz Osborn, vice president of product and solution marketing for 5nine Software, another provider of automated switchboards.
I'm not telling companies how to do business. But they may want to reconsider a policy of blatantly lying to customers.