Unclaimed Property in BC Tops $150 Million – June 2018

Over the last four years, the amount of unclaimed property sitting in dormant accounts in British Columbia has increased by more than 50%. Today, the BCUPS searchable database lists approximately $151 million in unclaimed funds, compared to approximately $140 million in 2014.

“There’s a growing awareness among companies and organizations of their regulatory obligation to remit unclaimed funds to the BC Unclaimed Property Society,” explains Alena Levitz, Executive Director of BCUPS. “We’ve seen a strong increase in submissions of unclaimed property over the years.”

Last year, BCUPS received $17,198,314 from BC courts, the Employment Standards Branch, the Public Guardian and Trustee of British Columbia, financial institutions, companies and other organizations.

Approximately 50% of unclaimed funds received last year came from BC Courts which included proceeds from commercial and civil disputes, building liens, foreclosures, bankruptcies, etc. More than $4 million in dormant accounts emanated from the Employment Standards Branch, with the bulk of it comprising a large submission of unclaimed wages from the University of British Columbia.

In 2017, BCUPS returned $942,434 in unclaimed funds to the rightful owners.

Since its inception, BCUPS has reunited owners with approximately $13,360,462 in funds from inactive accounts.

Most unclaimed accounts hold between $300 to $500. The single largest unclaimed property payout by BCUPS was $357,262 made in 2011. The largest dormant account in the BCUPS database waiting to be claimed is worth $1.9 million.

Unclaimed property remitted to BCUPS includes dormant credit union accounts, unpaid wages, overpayments to debt collectors, unclaimed proceeds from courts, pension funds, estates and forgotten real estate deposits.

Under the British Columbia Unclaimed Property Act, companies and organizations have a legal responsibility to identify and locate the owners of dormant accounts.  If unsuccessful, they are required after a specified period of time to transfer these unclaimed funds to BCUPS, whose mission is to reunite unclaimed money with the rightful owners. As a not-for-profit Society, BCUPS holds unclaimed property as the custodian for rightful owners under the Act. In addition to actively searching for owners of unclaimed property, BCUPS maintains an online database (www.unclaimedpropertybc.ca) where people can conduct 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. There is no cost to search for or claim long-lost money through BCUPS.

In addition to reuniting owners with their unclaimed property, BCUPS also works with companies to help them comply with the Unclaimed Property Act by getting dormant assets off their books, searching for and returning funds from dormant accounts to the rightful owners.

Unclaimed Property in BC by the Numbers

$151,743,444 – Total amount of money sitting in dormant accounts in BC waiting to be claimed.

$17,198,314 – Amount of unclaimed funds BCUPS received from financial institutions, companies and organizations in 2017.

$942,434 – Amount of money paid to verified claimants in 2017, representing 764 properties.

$86,540,627 – Total amount of money from dormant accounts BCUPS has received since its inception on April 1, 2003, representing 97,414 unclaimed properties.

$13,360,462 – Approximate amount of money from dormant accounts BCUPS has returned to the rightful owners since its inception, representing 6,834 properties.

$35,125,830 – Funds BCUPS has transferred to Vancouver Foundation for charitable purposes since its inception.

$357,262 – Largest amount claimed.

Approximately $1.9 million – Largest dormant account waiting to be claimed.

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