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Financial Planning   ->   Save Money -> Unclaimed balances

Unclaimed Balances / Unclaimed Money

It's hard to believe, but people forget about funds that they have on deposit in banks, trust companies and loan companies.    They also forget to notify banks, brokers, and others when they have a change of address, or a change of name due to marriage, divorce, etc.

In order to avoid any of your assets becoming part of the massive unclaimed property amounts, it is important to:

bulletkeep good records of
bulletbank and savings accounts
bulletinvestment/brokerage accounts
bulletstock certificates, if held personally
bulletany deposits paid, such as utility or telephone deposits
bulletinsurance contracts
bulletdeposit or cash all checks as soon as possible after receipt (mobile deposit is easy!)
bulletkeep a list of accounts that would have to be notified of a change of address.  This list is also invaluable to the executor of your estate, so make sure they have access to it.
bulletnotify everyone on the list promptly if you change your address, or if for some reason your name changes.

If you believe you have unclaimed property somewhere, here are some resources for trying to find it:

Canadian Financial Institutions Unclaimed Balances

Bank of Canada searchable database of unclaimed Canadian-dollar accounts, deposits and negotiable instruments.  When funds held by a financial institution have seen no activity for over 10 years, and the rightful owners cannot be found, the funds are transferred to the Bank of Canada.  Unclaimed balances of less than $1,000 will be held by the Bank of Canada for 30 years, and higher amounts for 100 years.  At the end of 2019, the Bank held approximately 2.1. million unclaimed balances worth $888 million.  In 2019 $8.5 million was paid out to balance holders. The oldest balance dates back to 1900.

Alberta Registry of Unclaimed Property

Central registry of Unclaimed Property - administered by Alberta Finance and Enterprise, Tax and Revenue Administration (TRA), will provide a searchable directory for unclaimed property.

British Columbia Unclaimed Property Society (BCUPS)

BC Unclaimed Property Society (BCUPS) provides a searchable database of unclaimed property (may not work properly using Chrome browser).  It also provides links to many other sources of unclaimed money.  There is more than $159 million in unclaimed money waiting to be found by owners.  The largest dormant account waiting to be claimed is approximately $1.9 million!!

Quebec Unclaimed Property Registry

Revenu Quebec has a searchable register of unclaimed property.

United States Unclaimed Property

For those of you who may have unclaimed property in the US, a free searchable database is available at MissingMoney.com.  The database provides access to unclaimed property in most states.  Another resource is the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA) which provides links to databases for all 50 states, the District of Columbia, a few Canadian provinces, and Guam and Puerto Rico.

The US government also has a web page Unclaimed Money from the Government.

Check out all of our ideas for saving money and building wealth!

Tip:  Keep good records, so if something happens to you, your heirs will find all your assets!

Consultations on Canadians' Unclaimed Balances

On June 22, 2018 the Government of Canada released for comment a consultation paper.  The aim of the consultation is to modernize the unclaimed balances regime and provide proposals for an unclaimed pension balances framework.  Written responses had to be sent by email, by August 21, 2018.  See the link to responses below.

June 22, 2018 news release

Consultation Paper

Responses  - Submissions for Consultation Paper on Modernization of the Unclaimed Balances Regime and Proposals for an Unclaimed Pension Balances Framework

Revised: March 06, 2021

 

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