Forgotten funds: $177 million still unclaimed across BC

May 4 2022, 5:31 pm

Ever dreamed of getting an unexpected influx of cash into your bank account?

The BC Unclaimed Property Society is dedicated to “reuniting forgotten dollars with the rightful owners,” and you might be the next person to get some dough back.

There’s an incredible $177 million waiting to be claimed, according to the BCUPS database, with the biggest dormant account holding $1.9 million.

BCUPS published the news in its annual report for 2021, saying it received $4,070,621 from dormant accounts from holders in 2021, most of which came from the Public Guardian and Trustee of BC and organizations like courts, financial institutions, and municipalities. 

The not-for-profit organization serves as a “lost and found” for unclaimed funds sitting in dormant accounts across British Columbia. 

Some examples of unclaimed property include dormant credit union accounts, insurance payments, money left after death without a will, outstanding real estate deposits, unclaimed wages, court payments, and overpayments to debt collectors.

Funds become unclaimed “when the lawful owner takes no action to access his or her account after a specified period, ranging from one to 10 years depending on the type of account and the holder” — not including dormant bank accounts, according to the report.

Staff completed 779 searches to reunite owners with their money and returned $717,209 to 314 individual accounts in 2021.

“For many cash-strapped British Columbians, receiving these long-lost funds provided welcome financial relief during an unprecedented period of economic adversity,” says a joint message from BCUPS Chair Anna Fung and Executive Director Alena Levitz.

“We maintain a free, searchable public database of unclaimed money in the province so people can track down and claim their forgotten funds,” says the report, adding BCUPS also works with businesses and organizations to return unclaimed property to the rightful owners. 

Money that goes unclaimed funds community programs province-wide. For example, BCUPS granted $6,241,601 to the Vancouver Foundation last year. 

“These funds enabled the foundation to continue to support not-for-profits impacted by the pandemic, respond to societal inequities exacerbated by COVID-19, enhance communities, and enrich people’s lives,” says the statement. 

To see if you have any money to pick up, search for your name in the BCUPS database online.

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