$164m of unclaimed cash in B.C. looking for rightful owners

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There is more than $164 million of unclaimed money sitting in B.C. accounts – and some of it could be yours.

That’s according to the most recent financial statements released by the non-profit B.C. Unclaimed Property Society (BCUPS).

The BCUPS, which serves as the administrator of the province’s unclaimed property program, is a “lost and found” for forgotten funds in B.C.

Its mission is to put unclaimed money from dormant accounts back in the hands of the rightful owners and works with companies and organizations to help get dormant assets off their books.

Most unclaimed accounts in BCUPS’s database amount to between $300 and $500.

The single largest unclaimed property payout by BCUPS was $357,262, made in 2011. The largest dormant account in B.C. is an unclaimed estate worth $1.9 million.

In 2019, BCUPS successfully returned $2,744,595 from dormant accounts to verified claimants who were unaware they had forgotten assets.

The society received $10,949,801 last year in unclaimed funds from the courts, credit unions, insurance companies, and the Public Guardian and Trustee of British Columbia, among other organizations, to be reunited with the rightful owners.

“During these difficult times, we encourage all British Columbians to search the BCUPS database to see if they have forgotten funds waiting for them,” said Alena Levitz, executive director of the BCUPS.

“Many B.C. residents facing unprecedented financial challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic may have unclaimed money they’re not aware of that could make a meaningful difference in their life.”

“Like many British Columbians, BCUPS staff are working remotely to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

“However, we are continuing to processes claims even though there may be some delays in work processes. We ask for claimants’ patience and understanding as we continue to work to reunite British Columbians with their unclaimed funds.”

The society maintains a free online database (unclaimedpropertybc.ca), where people can search to see if they have any forgotten money.

Individuals can claim the funds by completing a verification process that firmly establishes their identities as rightful owners. There is no limitation period to claim funds from BCUPS and no cost for their services.

Dormant accounts under the purview of BCUPS apply only to provincially-regulated financial institutions, companies and organizations, which includes inactive credit union accounts, as well as unpaid wages, outstanding insurance payments, overpayments to debt collectors, proceeds from courts, pension funds, estates and real estate deposits.

They do not include dormant bank accounts, which fall under the jurisdiction of the Bank of Canada.

Richmond News