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Canadian Bank has unclaimed money

Unclaimed money is not just something that Americans have. Our neighbor to the North also has the dilemma of returning money to rightful owners.

In this case we are looking at one bank, the Bank of Canada. It was reported that as of January 1, 2006 the bank was holding 854,000 dormant bank accounts totalling $270 million. The largest single account has a balance of $423,598.58.

With amounts of money like that you may wonder how someone would forget about it. There are sudden deaths where the relatives have no knowledge of this account. The bank does not have a current address and therefore cannot contact the rightful heir. The most common reason for an abandoned account is the owner relocates and does not inform the bank of the move.

How does this all work? Balances from bank branches across the country are shipped to Ottawa when an account remains inactive for 10 years despite repeated attempts to contact the owner. There is no dollar limit or minimum on this, all accounts which are inactive for the ten year period are sent.

Dormant accounts with $500 or more are held indefinitely. Accounts with a balance under $500 are given to the government if the money isn’t claimed 10 years after the transfer. This gives you 20 years to claim the money. With this much time, it may still surprise you to know that the government collected $3.8 million last year.

With technology advancing, more and more people are becoming aware of unclaimed property and unclaimed cash. The Internet has been a major player in assisting in the return of funds. In 2005, the Bank of Canada processed 5,700 claims totalling $9.8 million.

In the United States you can go to www.CashUnclaimed.com and do a free money search. You will find out if any state or federal agency has unclaimed property for you simply by entering your name. You can also search for friends and family.

Canadians can quickly do an online search by visiting bankofcanada.ca and select “Services” and then “Unclaimed Balances.”

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