Canadians unaware of billions in unclaimed money

Man holding fistfull of Canadian money.
Many Canadians are not aware of the potential riches available to them. Photo: iStock.

Free money – two words everyone would like to hear and, of course, receive!

I’m not talking about winning the lottery but the billions of unclaimed property and assets sitting in our banks and financial institutions.

Don’t know about this vast amount of unclaimed money? Turns out most Canadians are not aware of the potential riches available to them.

So how did this money get lost in the first place? Change of address, name change, cheques lost in the mail or misplaced by the recipient, and human error are just a few of the reasons. Even poor estate planning can lead to funds that do not reach the intended beneficiary.

By now you are probably trying to figure out how to get a piece of the unclaimed property pie and call it your own.

If you live in Alberta, British Columbia, or Quebec, you are in luck, as these provinces have legislation and databases for unclaimed property. For the rest of us, we will have to be content with searching the Bank of Canada’s unclaimed property database and hope that our province(s) gets with the times.

For those provinces ahead of the game, some even go looking for recipients. According to CBC News, the province of Alberta sought and found Jean Berger, whose father had an uncashed provincial bond worth about $10,000.

If you are lucky enough to discover money owed to you, it probably won’t make you an instant millionaire, but at the very least try searching these databases. Even the smallest amount could help pay those holiday bills!

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