Millions of dollars unclaimed

There is nearly $100 Million worth of unclaimed property in BC and some of it could be yours.

The BC Unclaimed Properties Society (BCUPS) says thousands of British Columbians have thousands of dollars they don't even know about, and are now urging all residents to use a search database to find out if the unclaimed funds are theirs.

BCUPS says people often forget about unclaimed money languishing in long forgotten credit union accounts, unpaid wages, overpayments to debt collectors, unclaimed proceeds from courts, pension funds, estates and forgotten real estate deposits.

In BC, there is an estimated $100 million in forgotten funds currently waiting to be claimed.

Last year, the not-for-profit BCUPS, returned $922,879 to its rightful owners, and this year they have already broken the $1.2 Million mark.

"For many people, particularly seniors, finding forgotten money in a dormant account can be a life-changing experience," says Alena Levitz, Executive Director of the BC Unclaimed Property Society. 

"As a not-for-profit Society, BCUPS holds unclaimed property as the custodian for rightful owners under the Unclaimed Property Act. We work with companies looking to get dormant assets off their books, search for and return funds from dormant accounts to the rightful owners. This service is free for companies holding unclaimed funds and claimants searching for long-lost money."

BCUPS maintains an online database where people can do a name search to check if they have any unclaimed money waiting for them. Funds can be claimed by completing a verification process that firmly establishes the claimant's identity.

The organization hopes to reunite BC residents with the millions of dollars left unclaimed each year.

In 2013 alone they received $8,460,201 in unclaimed funds from financial institutions, companies, courts, tax offices and the Public Guardian and Trustee of British Columbia, representing 18,026 individual unclaimed properties.

"Accounts become dormant for a number of reasons," notes Levitz. "People move without leaving a forwarding address, neglect to pick up a final paycheque, forget about a security deposit or they simply pass away."

For many it is not a huge windfall with the average account only holding $200 to $300, but for some it can be a big pay day. In 2011 they set their highest payout on record at $357,262.

To find out if you may be the rightful owner of some unclaimed cash check out their search engine here.


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