Database links New Brunswickers to unclaimed $$

According to the Financial and Consumer Services Commission, people could miss out on money owed to them through refunds or an inheritance.  (Peter Scobie/CBC - photo credit)

According to the Financial and Consumer Services Commission, people could miss out on money owed to them through refunds or an inheritance. (Peter Scobie/CBC – photo credit)

If you’re unsure whether you actually received that damage deposit, insurance payout, or refund, you may soon be able to check with a few clicks.

The New Brunswick Financial and Consumer Services Commission is launching a searchable database later this year so people can find out about all the financial assets they have that they don’t know about.

The Commission describes itself as “an independent, self-funded Crown Corporation established by the provincial government”.

It’s surprising how many people miss out on things like unclaimed funds or inheritances, said Erin Toole, director of the Unclaimed Property Commission. The estimated number is in the millions.

Stu Mills/CBC

Stu Mills/CBC

“You might have moved [and left] no forwarding address, you have not updated your addresses with your bank or investment advisor. They might even have forgotten an asset,” Toole said Information morning Fredericton.

“It could be refunds you didn’t know were issued to you, the check didn’t reach you, or maybe at some point an inheritance you didn’t know you were entitled to.”

The database also serves companies

The database, called FundsFinderNB, is part of a new program under the province’s unclaimed property law that went into effect about a year ago, she said. The database would only include cash unclaimed for three years and would not include real estate, vehicles, and bank accounts held by federal financial institutions.

People might think that companies would be happy if someone forgot a refund or payout since that’s money they don’t have to give away. But Toole said it’s the opposite — companies are looking to dump the money.

“Unless you’re a credit union or a bank, you’re not in the business of holding property for others,” she said. “It’s an added concern. It’s basically a pain.”

She said when a company issues a refund, the money is considered paid out, but customers not claiming that money means the company would have to spend more money to keep it for them.

“They have expenses they have to pay for — lawyers and accountants telling them what to do with that property,” she said.

Search for unclaimed funds

Under the new rules, if the money goes unclaimed for three years and is more than $50, the company will hand it over to the commission. The company would first have to try to contact the customer by letter and email. You have to do this once, Toole said, but you can try multiple times if you wish.

Last year, the commission asked companies to search their books, find unclaimed funds and try to contact customers. In January this year, the Commission said companies should now start sending anything that has not been claimed to the Commission so it can start building the database.

The Bank of Canada now has a searchable database covering bank accounts.

Toole said if you’ve ever lived in Quebec, Alberta or British Columbia, those provinces already have searchable databases in place. There is a nationwide database online for former US citizens.


Show More

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button