As those post-holiday bills start coming in, many of us could use a little extra cash.
What if hundreds, or even thousands of dollars, was sitting in a long-forgotten account with your name on it, just waiting to be discovered?
The British Columbia Unclaimed Property Society (BCUPS) can help you find out. BCUPS is a not-for-profit society charged with administering the province’s unclaimed property program.
In 2018, BCUPS returned approximately $1.7 million in unclaimed funds to the rightful owners – forgotten credit union accounts, for example, court settlements or final wages for employees who may have moved on without leaving a forwarding address. Since its inception, approximately $14.5 million has been returned from inactive accounts.
BC is one of only three Canadian provinces with legislation around unclaimed property and because there’s no statute of limitations on distributing the funds, they simply stay with the society until claimed. Today, the BCUPS searchable database lists approximately $155 million in unclaimed funds!
“We’re kind of like a parking lot for unclaimed funds in B.C.,” BCUPS Executive Director Alena Levitz says with a laugh.
Starting the search is easy
While the average BCUPS claim is around $300 to $500, some are much more.
In these days of email scams and phishing, Levitz finds many people remain wary of the prospect of finding unclaimed funds. “I don’t blame people for being cautious,” Levitz says, reminding readers that “a reputable company or organization will never ask for money or banking information up front when it comes to searching for unclaimed money.”
You can check if you have unclaimed funds waiting for you by simply searching their database. There are no fees or costs to search for or claim forgotten funds through BCUPS.
Accounts of deceased family members can also be searched, and funds recovered providing the appropriate documentation is supplied.
And as money comes their way each year, the BCUPS team may also try to find you.
“If we receive funds above $200, we’ll try to find you, and if we do, we’ll send out a letter asking you to contact us,” Levitz says.
Did you know?
Philanthropy: Each year, a portion of BCUPS’s outstanding unclaimed funds are transferred to Vancouver Foundation to support community programs and social initiatives. The BCUPS Board determines the amount to donate each year that still ensures funds are available to meet future claims and operate the society. Last year, $2.8 million went to the Foundation, bringing the total since 2004 to $35.8 million!
How much?! The largest single amount BCUPS has distributed was $357,262 in 2011. The largest dormant account in the BCUPS database waiting to be claimed is worth $1.9 million.
Now THAT could pay for a lot of holiday bills!
To learn more, visit BCUPS at unclaimedpropertybc.ca and start your search today.