Category Archives: Advocacy

Good infographic from the President`s Advisory Council on Financial Capabilities (US)

The Money As You Grow Website is a great resource no matter what side of the border you live on. The site strives to help parents educate their children about how to live financially smart lives,

The site offers 20 essential, age-appropriate financial lessons with activities that reinforce learning about money. It`s a great way to start a dialogue about money. The site is a great resource for Families, Community Organizations, Non Profits and Businesses who understand and wish to promote financial literacy.

Kids & Money

Unclaimed Credit Union Balances

Finding Unclaimed Credit Union Balances – no easy task

We’ve made no secret of the fact that we love Credit Unions but…

Why is finding an unclaimed Credit Union balance in Canada so …complicated to say the least ?

There`s over $532 million in unclaimed bank accounts held by the Bank of Canada. This balance is made up of Canadian dollar accounts held originally by a federally regulated bank where the account was inactive for a period of 10 or more years. The Bank of Canada makes available a searchable database of unclaimed bank accounts which anyone can search here 

Although we remain disappointed about the fact that the Bank of Canada`s searchable database does not include inactive accounts held in a foreign currency (since they are very familiar with exchange rates), the process and the rules seem simple enough.

If only Canada had such clarity in the case of unclaimed accounts held by Credit Unions or Financial Cooperatives !

Alas, Credit Unions and Financial Cooperatives are provincially regulated and unfortunately, each Province has their own rules (or doesn’t). More unfortunately, only 3 provinces currently make available a searchable database available to the public (Quebec, British Columbia and Nova Scotia)

Here`s a short rundown on what we know about Unclaimed Balances held by Credit Unions in some (apologies-not all) Provinces across the Country:

Alberta: After 10 years of inactivity, unclaimed account balances are transferred to the Credit Union Deposit Guarantee Corporation (CUDGC) which holds the money for another 20 years before it is considered revenue for Alberta. As of 2013, the CUDGC held some $1.36 Million in unclaimed accounts.

British Columbia: After 10 years of inactivity, unclaimed account balances over $100 are transferred to the BC Unclaimed Property Society which holds the account indefinitely. A searchable database is available here 

Nova Scotia: After 7 years of inactivity, unclaimed accounts are transferred to the Nova Scotia Credit Union Deposit Insurance Corporation (CUDIC).  The CUDIC holds the balance in perpetuity. As of 2013, the Nova Scotia Credit Union reported $577 Thousand in unclaimed accounts. A searchable database is available here 

Quebec: After 3 years of inactivity, unclaimed accounts are transferred to Revenu Quebec where the balances are held for 30 more years for amounts over $500 or 10 years if the amount is less than $500. A searchable database is available here 

Saskatchewan: After 6 years of inactivity, unclaimed accounts worth more than $5,000 are transferred to the provincial Credit Union Deposit Guarantee Corp. The balance of unclaimed accounts in 2013 was $244 Thousand. A searchable database is expected to be available soon

Ontario: Section 182 of the Credit Union and Caisses Populaires Act in Ontario notes that accounts that have been inactive for a period of 10 years are to be forwarded to the Ministry of Finance in accordance with the Minister`s directions. Unfortunately, those directions have still not been provided despite the fact that the Act became law in 1994. The Financial Services Commission of Ontario which administers the regulations pertaining to Credit Unions and Caisses Populaires in Ontario, can not provide us with any detail as to why there has been a delay of 20 years by the Ministry of Finance in providing `directions`. Yikes.

That’s more than unfortunate for account holders or heirs in Canada`s most populous Province who should be able search & claim accounts that they are legally entitled to in one central place.

We are left to wonder why Minister of Finance in Ontario seems so indifferent about this matter given the state of finances in Ontario and the fact that this would be a welcome help to families who have for one reason or another lost track of an account

This ‘Mish Mash’ of rules and procedures depending upon your jurisdiction, is a Good Reason to safeguard your financial assets & all of your financial and legal information in a secure and accessible location. We have one for you –  LegacyTracker.

Roosevelt on whining

We’re not whining because we’ve developed an unclaimed asset solution

We think Theodore Roosevelt would approve.

The 26th President of the United States was known for his exuberant personality, a long list of achievements and for his leadership, strength and charisma. Despite his sickly childhood, Theodore Roosevelt Jr. embraced a strenuous life & inspired many.  It’s said that he lived his life by the motto “Be awesome or die trying” We’re not sure if that’s true but he did have a low or zero tolerance for whining.

We`re not (technically) whining when we speak of the challenges in the financial services market these days for both consumers and the professionals they deal with

A famous quote attributed to Theodore Roosevelt reminds us of the mission behind our online web solution, LegacyTracker. We may complain about the growing and global problem of Unclaimed Financial Assets & the need in Canada in particular for legislation. But…we’ve also developed a technology solution to help reduce the problem.

We may complain about the need for individuals and families to be more proactive about financial and estate planning…but our solution can help with that too.

So technically speaking…we`re not whining.

LegacyTracker

LegacyTracker helps individuals and their families simplify, safeguard and share their important financial, legal and estate information.

LegacyTracker helps users become more empowered with their own information in order for them to become proactive about their finances and we think that will also make them more open to (and engaged in) working with professional financial and estate advisors.

Connect with us for more info.

 

 

Customer Advocacy beats Free Coffee

Of course, I`m a bit biased since I have never actually tasted coffee (Long story involving a pact made with best friends when we were 7).

However, there is a lot of talk about Customer Advocacy of late and the impact that being a Customer Advocate can have on confidence and loyalty (retention) for providers. Loyalty…is priceless it leads to retention, praise, cross selling, referrals etc.

Partnering with customers on managing their finances, making them feel confident about their financial future, and taking the lead when necessary helps them see that you are on their side and looking out for their best interests,” so says Beth Youra, Senior Consultant for Gallup.

This comes by way of a Gallup survey reported in April of 2014:  Banks: To Earn Customer Confidence, Make the Conversation About Their Financial Well-Being

”This manifests itself in customers feeling like you are looking out for their financial well-being, which, in turn, makes you seem more selfless and gives customers the confidence that you are in it for them and not yourself.”

Wise words. Loyalty is hard-earned. LegacyTracker, our branded personal financial organizer can help your clients simplify, safeguard and share their important financial/legal/estate information with loved ones and advisors. We think that’s better than free coffee or even a toaster.

 

 

Preparing for What If Scenarios

An earlier post from Brighter Life  asked  Can you imagine what would happen if you died and your beneficiaries didn’t know where to find your will?  Or your money?

That’s a much feared.. What If Scenario ..dying unprepared, without your beneficiaries knowing where to find your will or your money…Unfortunately, that kind of scenario  happens far too frequently, leaving loved ones and beneficiaries with additional stress, grief and expense often.

What If?

The article quoted well-known financial advisor Jim Yih, author of the personal finance blog, retirehappyblog.ca 

“You really love your family and friends, so take the time to get your estate organized so you don’t leave them with a big mess to sort through during such an emotional time “

The article pointed out the following 12 key documents which should be safely stored together in a place where they can easily be found:

  1. Your will: Outlining who gets what when you die and appointing guardians for minor children. Dying without a will, may lead to a family disaster with assets being divided according to provincial law & minor children ending up with the guardian that you may not approve of.
  2.  A living will: Outlining treatment should you be unable to make decisions about your own health (like receiving life-sustaining treatments).
  3.  A power of attorney: Providing someone you trust with the power to make financial decisions for you in the event you’re no longer able to do so, as opposed to the Courts deciding upon who that guardian should be.
  4.  Proof of ownership: All of those documents that relate to important assets like your house, land, vehicles, stocks and any other assets.
  5. 6 years of tax returns: Providing your executor a sense of the assets and finances that are part of your estate.
  6. A list of bank accounts and safety deposit boxes: To avoid the risk of your bank accounts being added to the 1.3 million accounts that make up $465 Million in the Bank of Canada,
  7.  Stock certificates and savings bonds: Investment account statements and & any actual stock certificates
  8.  Pension, retirement and annuity documents: Without these documents, your family may be unable to determine what remains of your retirement benefits that they may be eligible to receive.
  9.  Insurance policies: All insurance-related documents are vital for claiming insurance benefits. At this point in time in Canada particularly, no one is going to look for beneficiaries even if the policy owner might be 125 years old
  10.  A list of your debts and loans: Another list that will help ensure family won’t end up with unwanted or nasty surprises down the road
  11.  Marriage licence and/or divorce papers: Legal proof of marriage and divorce can make it easier for the executor of your estate and for your family.
  12.  Your user names and passwords: Digital assets relating to social media and online accounts are now critically important to most estates.

LegacyTracker includes comprehensive but flexible templates to take care of this chore and includes all of the above documents plus quite a few more. Life is Busy. Our mission is to help you better simplify, safeguard & share your important details for the benefit of you and your loved ones.

Learn more by contacting us

$400M+ in Lost Canada Savings Bonds is a lot of cash

There’s a staggering $400 Million + in matured but Unredeemed Canada Savings Bonds.

AND..

$400 Million in Lost or Unclaimed Canada Savings Bonds is a lot of hard-earned cash that could make a difference to many. 

And while it seems, a little UnCanadian, no one is looking for you or for your family member that may own one of these bonds. No one. That’s why it’s worth checking for yourself or for the sake of a loved one or friend.

If you think you or a family member has lost a Canada Savings bond (CSB) along the way…here’s some helpful info. if you are not sure if you or a family member has lost a CSB, I would urge you to call anyways as there is no downside, because NO ONE in the Bank of Canada is looking for owners of these Lost bonds. I can’t determine why lost Canada Savings Bonds are not listed on the Bank of Canada website alongside lost bank accounts. It’s a really BIG mystery.

However, given that T5s have been issued for the interest that these bonds have earned (which also remains unclaimed) AND the fact that tax returns have been filed by the legal owners or returns have been re-assessed on behalf of these owners, it should follow, that many of these owners could be tracked down. However, that’s not the case (the looking). We’ve volunteered to list lost CSB’s here on this website; we await a response

In any case, here’s some info on searching for lost Canada Savings Bonds

  • Gather up any info you have like Certificate Serial #, Customer ID, address at the time of purchase and the exact name that the bond would have been issued on behalf of
  • If the bond has been stolen; you should report it to police. CSB customer service will ask you for a Police report #
  • If the bond holder/owner is under 18, the parent or legal guardian must contact customer service. You may be requested to provide proof that you are the parent or legal guardian
  • If you are calling on behalf of someone unable to make the call; have them present if possible.
  • If you are calling on behalf of an estate or an individual that has been incapacitated, you will be asked to provide a certified or notarized true copy of any document that is required to provide proof of your authorization to act on their behalf (Like a Will or Power of Attorney or an Estate Transfer form)
  • If there are 2 owners listed on the bond; both bond holders must speak with Customer service
  • Make the Call-Contact info provided below

Need more info? Read more here

Contact Info

Phone – 1 800 575 5151
Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (ET)
905 754-2012 (Outside North America)
Facsimile  613 782-8096

Email
For general inquiries only (Link for instructions)
csb@csb.gc.ca

Mail
Canada Savings Bonds
P.O. Box 2770, Station D
Ottawa, ON K1P 1J7

Delivery Address
Canada Savings Bonds
50 O’Connor Street, Suite 201
Ottawa, ON K1P 6L2

UNCLAIMED ACCOUNTS BANK OF CANADA

What’s not included in $532M in Unclaimed Accounts at the Bank of Canada

$532 Million in Unclaimed accounts held by the Bank of Canada is a very BIG balance

It’s a very BIG balance & yet it doesn’t include a lot of other financial assets that you might think are included like:

  • Bank balances from Non-Federally regulated financial institutions like Credit Unions
  • Bank balances not held in Canadian Currency like accounts held in USD (strange?)
  • Bank balances that have had no activity for 1-9 years or more (must be 10+ years)
  • Safety deposit boxes (We’re still trying to find out what happens to unclaimed safety deposit boxes)
  • Gold/Silver Certificates
  • RRSP accounts or Retirement savings accounts
  • Prepaid funeral contracts
  • Stock, Dividends, Securities or Life insurance polices/claims
  • Unclaimed amounts held by other institutions or organizations like prepaid funeral contracts or utility deposits

Wouldn’t it be nice to look in 1-2 places like residents of the US are able to do? That’s one of the many benefits of having Unclaimed property legislation in place.

 

 

 

Canada needs Unclaimed Property Legislation

Shining some Light on our very Canadian Problem

Grateful thanks to Ross Martowits of Canadian Press for Shining some much-needed light on our very Canadian Problem or as I refer to it…Canada’s Economic Plan in waiting. Ross took the time to speak with us this week and his article ran today in many papers across the Country today.

I refer to the need for Unclaimed Property Legislation in Canada as a very Canadian problem because in most parts of the developed world such legislation exists and it has for many years like in the US, most of the UK, Australia, New Zealand, etc. Kenya has legislation…but only in 2 provinces in Canada does any sort of comprehensive or consistent legislation exist (Alberta and Quebec) Canada needs Unclaimed Property Legislation in every Province – it should be considered an important part of Consumer Protection Legislation as it is in other Countries.

We’re on a mission to shed light on the problem while completing development of an online solution for individuals to use in order that they can securely and simply document their important financial & legal information

You can read the article as published by the Toronto Star online here or we’ve copied it here

 

MONTREAL—Millions of Canadians unknowingly have billions of dollars worth of their money and assets being held by companies and government agencies, available for recovery.

The Bank of Canada alone is holding nearly $1 billion from bank accounts and Canada Savings Bonds, but experts estimate unclaimed assets across the country could top $4 billion to $7 billion.

Canada is way behind other developed countries in having comprehensive unclaimed property legislation for all its residents, says accountant Brenda Potter Phelan.

“A country so progressive, so socially minded as Canada I find it hard to stomach that we don’t have some safeguards. In the U.S. and around the world they find this a main part of consumer protection,” she said from Cambridge, Ont., where she runs a website and blog called Legacy Tracker.

Quebec and Alberta are the only provinces with comprehensive laws, while British Columbia has a voluntary system. But Ontario is studying the adoption of its own system that could shine the light on a large treasure of unclaimed assets, including insurance policies, stocks and pensions.

In Canada, the total value of unclaimed assets is unknown but experts believe the numbers are staggering and growing.

The Bank of Canada’s unclaimed accounts grew 52 per cent over five years to reach $532 million as of December, with 93 per cent of accounts worth less than $1,000. The bank returned only $14 million to owners last year.

Non-redeemed Canada Savings Bonds and Canada Premium Bonds totalled $391 million as of March 31. The Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy Canada holds some $18 million.

Quebec has about $300 million of unclaimed financial and other assets, while B.C. and Alberta have tens of millions each.

Online searches can be conducted in each of those provinces and with the Office of Superintendent of Bankruptcy, but all Canadians can look at the Bank of Canada website.

Searches conducted during research for this story identified more than $10,000 of unclaimed financial assets for family and friends.

“I am very surprised,” Syma Shaffer said when told about the discovery of nearly $1,400 from a Montreal bank account closed in 1991.

Federally regulated banks are required to hand over unclaimed deposit accounts, term deposits & GICs and negotiable items such as drafts, money orders and certified cheques to the central bank after a decade of trying to notify the owner.

Excluded are non-Canadian currency accounts, RRSPs, credit union balances, gold or silver certificates, safety deposit boxes, insurance payments, court payments, stocks and dividends, wages and real estate deposits, most of which are covered by provincial legislation.

The largest single unclaimed account totalling $552,000 was transferred from a Royal Bank branch in Montreal. Its owner, Manuel Vinhas, had two dormant accounts worth nearly $677,000.

The bank wouldn’t comment on specific cases, citing privacy issues.

Greg Crone was elated when informed he had more than $6,600 of assets being held, likely from a deposit related to a 2003 car purchase.

But the Ontario resident couldn’t understand how RBC was unable to locate him after a move to another city since he has the same bank account.

“It’s pretty shocking. When they want to find you because you’re late on a payment or something they have no trouble finding you,” he said in an interview.

Experts say it’s not uncommon for people to lose track of their assets, forgetting old bank accounts or paid up life insurance policies. People often move without forwarding their mail for more than a year and many people die without their heirs knowing much about their finances.

“Some people live quite private lives and they die unexpectedly and people don’t even know to look,” said Darren Jack, chairman of a task force for the Unclaimed Property Professionals Organization.

 

Parents, Kids & Money

Interesting but worrisome survey from T. Rowe Price “Parents, Kids & Money Survey” 2013 The survey set out to understand the basic financial knowledge, attitudes and behaviours of both parents and their children age 8-14 . The survey included 1.014 parents and 839 children in the US. The study was quite comprehensive..but we will share 3 with you here

The complete study can be found here

Kids and Money

And…Where do family conversations on money fit with everything else there is to talk to our kids about?

Topics to discuss with kids

Interesting but more worrying.. 50% or less of parents surveyed have strong financial habits to pass along to their children. Notably: Only 46% had life insurance. While 46% are saving for a family vacation & 39% save throughout the year for holiday shopping; only 26% have an up-to-date will.

Parents not covering financial basics

 

Please.

Get a will! We’ll be reminding you to get one …along the way with LegacyTracker.

And also? Let’s work on some of these basics so we as parents can pass them along to our children.

 

Fin Lit for Seniors

FinLit for Canadians-Phase 1 – Seniors’

A long-awaited National Strategy for Financial Literacy is now underway for development now that the also long-awaited Financial Literacy Leader has been appointed. (Jane Rooney) It’s a very BIG project with the goal of enhancing the financial well-being of All Canadians

Work on the National Strategy is taking place in phases and the 1st phase will focus on seniors and “soon be seniors”.   Other phases will focus on younger demographics as well as newcomers, low-income Canadians and Aboriginal peoples.

Life changing events for seniors

 

Seniors face a number of life changing events which we imagine is why Phase 1 will focus on this demographic

 

 

 

 

 

The Seniors’ Financial Literacy Strategy specifically seeks to strengthen the financial literacy of current and soon to be seniors by increasing knowledge, skills and confidence in making responsible financial decisions.

So how will this happen? What’s the Plan? 

That’s the purpose of the proposed blueprint released this month & the call for help from the Canadian Government to Canadians to both identify some of the current challenges faced by seniors & suggest how these challenges can be overcome

Specifically:

  1. How can we best encourage Canadians to prepare financially for their seniors years ?
  2. How can we empower seniors to plan & manage their financial affairs ?
  3. How can we improve awareness and understanding of public benefits for seniors?
  4. How can we better identify, prevent and combat the financial abuse of seniors ?

Canadians can contribute their input by responding to the questions posed in the consultation document by July 15 2014. Following a review of input received, the target date for a finalized literacy strategy is the Fall of 2014.

Refer to the Financial Consumer Agency website for more info  or grab your copy of the consultation paper here:  seniors_financial_literacy_consultation

Spur some economic action

Canada’s (under the radar) Economic Action Plan in waiting

Before you roll your eyes again at the thought of another Economic Action Plan Commercial please bear with me as this is just a (repeated) Request for another Economic Action Plan that all Canadians really should care about.

Economic Action Plans in Canada were implemented first during the global recession in 2009. The intent was to spur Economic growth & to support families and communities. So in that way, certainly the Economic Action Plan I have in mind would do just that in a BIG & meaningful way. However, unlike the typical Economic Action Plan that we are familiar with, this one should cost millions less but generate more than a billion of economic action as it’s all about ensuring that each Province and Territory across Canada put into place comprehensive & consistent Unclaimed Intangible Property Legislation.

Let’s connect (reunite) Canadians with the hard-earned/unclaimed (often tax paid) financial assets that they are legally entitled to. Most of Canada is so far behind in putting into place such legislation that it makes it difficult to pinpoint the actual value of Unclaimed Financial assets currently. But those of us who talk about this matter (and there’s only a few of us) estimate that there’s  $5-6 Billion or so that all Governments across Canada (outside of Alberta & Quebec) are failing to gather up, safeguard and share information on for the benefit of the majority of our population.

Yes. It’s a lot of money. The Bank of Canada alone has on deposit approximately  $1 Billion in the form of Unclaimed Canadian $ Bank accounts (from federally chartered bank accounts only) and Unclaimed/Matured Canada Savings Bonds. Check out our Fast Fact sheet on Unclaimed Financial Assets for some of the info that we have gathered on this journey.

Let’s face it. 

Nobody sets out to lose their financial assets on purpose & people generally work hard for their money. but, as we know far too well, people can become incapacitated or die quite suddenly or forget or move or not have the financial literacy skills required to ensure that their money is properly safeguarded for their own use or for their heirs down the road. That’s why most of the Western World like the US considers Unclaimed Property Legislation to be an important part of Consumer Protection Legislation. The US has had such legislation in place for more than 50 years & currently holds approximately $58 Billion in unclaimed assets. Yes. $58 Billion. The difference is that a lot of this $58 Billion in the United States can be found on individual State websites. State Treasuries proactively look for the legal owners of those funds. Given that the problem of Financial assets is growing at an alarming rate it’s time (overdue) Canada and the provinces all got on board.

There’s lot of info on this blog about the need for Unclaimed Property Legislation. We’re pretty obsessive passionate about this problem, so you can find out more information about Unclaimed Funds by reading some of our prior posts. This one provides information on the status of Unclaimed Property legislation across Canada; What’s Up with Unclaimed Property (UP) in Canada? 

Unclaimed financial assets come in various forms:

  • Bank accounts/Credit Union accounts
  • Over payments made to businesses or deposits such as Utilities
  • Stocks, mutual funds, bonds, and dividends
  • Funds reserved (undeposited) certified cheques, drafts or money orders
  • GICs or Certificates of deposit
  • Pensions
  • Insurance policy proceeds, Insurance refunds and amounts payable resulting from Demutalizations of mutual insurance companies
  • Education Savings plans
  • Prepaid Funeral deposits
  • Tax refunds
  • Mineral interests and royalty payments, trust funds, and escrow accounts
  • Contents of Safety Deposit Boxes-which may include valuables and sentimental items
  • Uncashed payroll cheques
  • Unused Gift Card balances

As the fast growing US balance of Unclaimed Financial provides evidence of, legislation alone will not solve the problem of hard-working citizens losing track of their financial assets. We’ve also built a simple, secure solution that helps individuals and families better organize their important information in order to 1) Engage more proactively in financial/estate planning,   2) Enhance their level of emergency preparedness and 3) to help safeguard hard-earned financial assets from being lost or forgotten. We’d love to talk to you about that especially if you are financial services provider who can see the benefit of providing it to your clients and prospects for mutual benefit. A Win/Win.

But we also think that all Canadians deserve to have their financial assets safeguarded by Unclaimed Property Legislation. We think reuniting Canadians (or their heirs) with their own money is the right thing to do. It’s good for everyone including the economy to get this money back to rightful owners and back into circulation. We’d love to know what you think on a very simple poll that follows. And…we wish you and your family a safe and Happy Canada Day. We have much to be thankful for in this great Country.

 

Canadian Credit Unions Rock

What’s Up with Unclaimed property (UP) in Canada?

There is a flurry of activity around the world with unclaimed property laws but in Canada…such change seems slower than slow and long overdue. Only 2 Provinces have any sort of comprehensive legislation relating to Unclaimed Financial Assets (AKA “Lost Assets” No one loses their Hard earned (and often tax paid) Financial Assets on purpose so..why is Consumer Protection in the form of Unclaimed Intangible Property Legislation not in place across all Provinces & Territories.

Here’s what is and what is not happening in Canada. 

But some history and some background on UUIPA (?) first:

Back in 2003, The Uniform Law Conference of Canada (ULCC) developed a Uniform Unclaimed Intangible Property Act (UUIPA)

The Act outlined some guidelines/rules for the benefit of Canadian jurisdictions which could be followed; making the process of actually implementing a program a lot easier (!) These rules as outlined, mirrored to a great extent, what has been in place for 50+ years in the US.

The UUIPA specified guidance/rules relating to the following
• Each enacting province or territory would be entitled to receive unclaimed intangible property if the property belongs to an owner whose last known address as shown on the holder’s records is in that province or territory
• Provisions around owner notification process by holders,
• Property would be remitted after a statutorily defined period of time and
• Provisions for a public registry of unclaimed property to be established.

As written, the UUIPA applies to credit balances, shares, cash, bonds, amounts due and payable under insurance policies, trust funds, distributions from retirement or pension plans, gift certificates, etc. The dormancy periods are generally 3-5 years depending upon the property type.

Read more about UUIPA at http://www.ulcc.ca/en/uniform-acts-en-gb-1/545-unclaimed-intangible-property-act/1114-unclaimed-intangible-property-act

Sadly, despite the good work of the Uniform Law Conference of Canada (ULCC) back in 2003, only 4 provinces to date have taken ANY action on unclaimed intangible property rules and that does not mean rules are in place. Quite the contrary…
Ontario
Ontario was the first province to consider unclaimed property way back in 1989 when the province passed the Unclaimed Intangible Property Act. However, the statute was not proclaimed into force and the legislation was repealed at the end of 2011. 

Ontario Unclaimed Property Legislation

It’s hard to believe.

Over the span of 22 years, which included 4 different Premiers from 3 different parties, Ontario could not get the program actually into place for the benefit of Ontarians and the Province generally. Sad. Sad.

 

In any case, the 2012, the Ontario budget announced Ontario’s intention to try again and create an unclaimed property scheme that would mirror that of the US. The proposal would require current “holders” of intangible property in Ontario to remit such amounts to the Government & put in place a program where legal owners would be able to find and claim those amounts but until such time, the funds would be used for the benefit of all Ontarians. Property to be included in the program would include amounts due under insurance policies, unpaid wages and interests recognized by share certificates and bonds, as well as other property types.

Last June (2013) the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General (OMAG) held a series of round table stakeholders meetings in Toronto for stakeholders to express their opinions related to the new law & sought a second round of written comments from stakeholders which were due back on Sept. 18. (Yes we wrote 8 pages)

While holders may be concerned about a potential “burden” of paperwork and the retroactive application of such legislation It’s time for Ontario to have a program encompassing as much unclaimed property as possible Actually, it’s overdue.

Read more about Ontario’s proposal and related discussions on Ministry of the Attorney General Website the here

Quebec
Quebec has had a fairly comprehensive unclaimed property program since 1997 and that program has incorporated several aspects of the UUIPA into their program. However, Quebec’s program is not quite as broad in coverage as Alberta’s and is more focussed on financial assets such as securities, dividends, life insurance proceeds but not for example, payroll or accounts receivable credit balances. Holders include financial institutions, insurance companies, trust companies, mutual fund and other investment dealers, credit unions, pension plans holding financial assets, property of successions, property of dissolved businesses, property without an owner and property located in Quebec whose owner is unknown or untraceable. The minimum threshold is property valued at $100 or more. Like the UUIPA (and in the U.S.), jurisdiction is based on the last known address of the owner.
The dormancy period for most of the property types covered by Quebec’s unclaimed property law is 3 years and specifies procedures relating to reasonable searches for rightful owners and notifications as well as claim procedures.

Read More about Quebec’s unclaimed property at http://www.revenuquebec.ca/en/bnr/pfnr/detenteur/procedure_instit.aspx

 Alberta

Alberta’s Unclaimed Personal Property and Vested Property Act (UPPVPA) came into effect on September 1 2008. The UPPVPA extends to most property types that are specified in the US. It specifically excludes gift certificates, retail business credits, and certain other property from its scope but does apply to uncashed checks (including payroll), accounts receivable credits, refunds, bonds, shares, amounts due and payable under insurance policies, retirement and pension fund distributions, etc. However, Alberta does specify a threshold amount of $250 or more for the program. Also, while the law was intended to apply to securities, it has delayed implementation of the program to securities pending a review by the Alberta Treasury Board and Ministry of Finance (ATBF)

Read more about the Alberta UPPVPA at http://www.finance.alberta.ca/business/unclaimed_property/info_property_holders.html

British Columbia
The British Columbia form of unclaimed property law and regulations vary significantly from Alberta and the US in many respects. The program applies only to certain types of property valued at various dollar thresholds which can be confusing. The BC program includes the BC Unclaimed Property Society which was established as a non-profit society in 2003 to administer the unclaimed property program for British Columbia for the benefit of the Vancouver Foundation.
The program also specifies between mandatory or voluntary holders. Mandatory holders are required by law to report and remit unclaimed property to the BC Unclaimed Property Society whereas voluntary holders are not mandated by law to report and remit but strongly ‘encouraged’ to do so. Voluntary holders can maintain control of the property and just report.
Mandatory Holders include Municipal and provincial courts, credit unions, and real estate agents, debt collection agencies, and companies being liquidated.
Voluntary Holders include Common types of property voluntary holders report and remit are trust funds, property insurance and closed pension plans.
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Read more about the BC unclaimed property program at  http://www.unclaimedpropertybc.ca/submit.php

So that’s about it. That’s about all.

There’s not much to write about with respect to Unclaimed Property Legislation being recognized as a “To Do” in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Newfoundland or the territories of Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut

  • 1 Province with a fairly comprehensive program.
  • 1 Province with a somewhat comprehensive program in place.
  • 1 Province with something in place.
  • 1 Province thinking about putting a program in place (twice) and…
  • 6 Provinces and 3 Territories who don’t seem to see the WIN/WIN that  Unclaimed Intangible Property Legislation could bring to individuals, families and government

The US has had Unclaimed Property Legislation in place for 50+ years or so in each State. The US looks upon such legislation as an important component of consumer protection legislation. The US has approximately $58 Billion to be found (and it can be found)

Why not in Canada? Our best guess and the few of us that discuss this problem on a regular basis is that Canada has most likely somewhere between $5-$6 Billion in Unclaimed Intangible Assets that’s a lot of economic action waiting to happen.

We’ve built a simple, secure solution that helps individuals and families better organize their important information in order to 1) Engage more proactively in financial/estate planning,   2) Enhance their level of emergency preparedness and 3) to help safeguard hard-earned financial assets from being lost or forgotten

But we also think that all Canadians deserve to have their financial assets safeguarded by Unclaimed Property Legislation. We’d like to know what you think:

 

 

 

 

Canada – such a great Country but

Dear Canada

We love Canada butWe love you but It does not compute

Such a great nation. So progressive in so many ways:

  • One of the wealthiest Countries in the world with the 8th highest per capita income globally
  • The 11th highest ranking Country in terms of Human Development
  • A proud member of the G8 (Group of 8 leading industrialized countries) , G10 (Group of 10 Economic Partners), and G-20 (Group of 20 Major economies in the world),
  • Openness to global trade & commerce as demonstrated by our alliances with NATO (National Atlantic Treaty Organization), NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) etc.
  • One of the most transparent and stable business climates in the world making Canada the 6th most attractive investment destination in the world (2014 Index of Economic Freedom)
  • An enviably strong & stable financial system as shown by the ability to withstand global financial turmoil in recent years with limited disruption
  • An excellent reputation for our judicial system which demonstrates an impeccable record of independence & transparency where private property is well protected including intellectual property rights consistent with world standards 

And yet…

Only 2 Provinces in Canada (being Quebec and Alberta) or 34% of the current population of Canada is safeguarded for financial risk by having Comprehensive Unclaimed Intangible Property Legislation in force . Unclaimed Intangible Property Legislation is considered wisely and widely as an essential element of Consumer Protection

Apparently, not in Canada yet. 

 Estimates of Unclaimed Intangible Property (AKA Unclaimed Financial Assets) range as high as $6 Billion for Canada. That number is increasing at an alarming rate and will continue to do so for a multitude of reasons.

We’ve built a simple, secure solution that helps individuals and families better organize their important information in order to 1) Engage more proactively in financial/estate planning,   2) Enhance their level of emergency preparedness and 3) to help safeguard hard-earned financial assets from being lost or forgotten

But we also think that all Canadians deserve to have their financial assets safeguarded by Unclaimed Property Legislation. We’d like to know what you think:

2 Words best describe the need for a Power of Attorney

2 words about why you need a Power of Attorney – Casey Kasem

Casey Kasem POA

The dispute involving the famous but sadly ailing LA radio host, Casey Kasem provides clear evidence of the need for a power of attorney. Mr. Kasem is 82 and is suffering from a form of dementia (Lewy Body Disease) as well as Parkinson’s. His family meanwhile, has been embroiled in a very public ‘spat’ over his care which has included complaints by his 3 children from a prior marriage, that his current wife of 34 years has been denying access to them.

Last year, those children had filed a petition of conservatorship (or power of attorney) to gain control of their father’s health. But a judge denied the request.They claimed that his current wife, Jean Kasem, who had been in control of his medical care had also controlled access to him and had isolated him from his family and his friends.

Late last month, one of his daughters was appointed his temporary conservator after Mr. Kasem was reported missing. He was found 3 days later in Washington state. He is currently being treated in a Washington Hospital where he is in critical condition and the battle between his family about how best to treat Mr. Kasem is ongoing. While both his children and his current wife appear to have Mr. Kasem’s best interests in mind; they disagree about how he should be treated medically.

In Canada, power of Attorney is provincially legislated and enables someone either designated legally or by a court to become a substitute decision maker AFTER a person becomes incapacitated. While a power of attorney is the term used when an individual is appointed by that individual to act on their behalf; the term guardian is used when an individual is appointed by the court.

A power of attorney is quite different from a will. Some would argue it’s more important as it enables someone to look after your interests while you are still alive but incapacitated. It can also be more complicated. A person can be incapable of making one kind of decision but not for making a different kind of decision and sometimes that can change depending on whether or not capacity is diminishing or not. A power of attorney for property versus personal care can be different and responsibility can be provided to the same individual or different individuals.

With reference to Mr. Kasem’s case, In Ontario, one of the statutory obligations for someone acting as a power of attorney is to facilitate supportive relationships, they cannot deny access to relatives just because they don’t like them.

In all cases, it’s important to choose someone who you know to be trustworthy and capable who can take on such important responsibilities. It’s also important to document a power of attorney properly and to ensure that the document is available when needed.

We have included a place for safeguarding your power of attorney inside LegacyTracker and by doing so; we hope there is a better chance that you will attend to this important task if you haven’t already. And if you don’t have one yet and live in Ontario Canada, you can download a Power of Attorney Kit from the Ministry of the Attorney General’s website

POA Kit Ontario

Power of Attorney and Living Wills FAQ Ontario

What if funeral planning became more like party planning ?

Would more of us talk about Final wishes & Funerals ?

Party Planning or Funeral PlanningFunerals are changing

The Toronto Starrecently ran a good article on Funeral planning that we thought was well worth sharing. Actually the Star has run a good series of articles on Death & Dying that are well worth a read. 

But one article stood out, as surprisingly more uplifting than the typical reading about this particular subject matter that often does not get spoken of (!) It was uplifting in a spirited way and that’s because the good news is that Traditional funerals are being transformed & that means the funeral industry is being transformed as well.

Traditional funerals are apparently on their deathbed 

Less of the 2 days of visitation variety, followed by an internment at the cemetery. Yes. that definitely sounds like my own Dad’s funeral, which for my family & I’m sure most, seems like more like an endurance test.

Some of that change is coming from consumers who are looking for more choice and less cost these days. cremations have certainly become more popular than burials (moving from just 4% in the 1970’s to 60% currently). Family members are looking to mourn less and celebrate more, the lives of those loved ones who have left, remembering in different ways which do not always include a traditional religious ceremony.

  • A wine and cheese instead of a traditional funeral ?
  • Ashes scattered across the Pacific Ocean instead of a traditional burial plot?
  • Body dealt with in the most inexpensive and environmentally friendly way

The cute lady pictured and quoted in the article, Margaret Adamson, 82 years young said it best “I feel whatever of me remains will be in the memories of my family and friends, and how the body is treated is not important to me. Once I’m gone”

 

Count me in. (Does my spouse follow this blog?)

 

Here’s the best part almost of this article being about more uplifting final wishes and funeral planning….It’s easier to print it or share it by sending it to someone you care about or who cares about you to start a conversation if one has not already begun. Too often, those kinds of conversations (like about estate planning, funerals, final wishes, WILLS etc.)  are delayed and that increases the risk that a conversation does not happen and more grief in the form of more stress and trying to guess occurs.  

You can read the entire article here 

LegacyTracker wants you to talk about your final wishes, plan for what if scenarios and share that information with your loved ones. We’ve included a spot for those plans and wishes right inside the Estate section of LegacyTracker

Live Well. Live Long.