Category Archives: Consumers

$63 Billion in Unclaimed Funds – pretty good reasons to get your ducks in a row

Are your ducks in a row? 

$58 Billion in Unclaimed financial assets in the US plus another $4-$6 Billion in Canada should be enough of a reason to get organized. These financial assets were no doubt hard-earned. A good majority of these assets are also for the most part, tax paid. $63 Billion or so waiting to be claimed by the individual that lost track or the legal beneficiaries of those assets; It’s a lot of money that could make a really BIG difference to many families and loved ones.

Unclaimed financial assets come in a variety of forms:

  • Bank or Credit Union accounts
  • Stocks/Bonds
  • Uncashed dividends
  • Utility deposits or refunds
  • Other prepaids, deposits or refunds
  • Trust distributions
  • Inheritances
  • Annuities/Pensions
  • Education funds
  • Prepaid funeral contracts
  • Mineral royalties such as oil, gas, or mining
  • Insurance policy claims/refunds
  • Contents of abandoned safe-deposit boxes
  • Etc.

Unclaimed financial assets also reside in a variety of places:

While held initially by a variety of different financial organizations or institutions, if you live in the US, after a set period of time, unclaimed financial assets will be gathered up by each State Treasury for safeguarding while at the same time, entered into an online search base where hopefully the legal owners or heirs will find those assets and make a claim.

Unclaimed Property legislation in the US is a win/win for the State and for the legal owners of those assets as the State is able to use those funds until they are claimed.

Check out MissingMoney.com

The US estimates that 1 in 10 Americans has unclaimed funds belonging to them. Unfortunately, only 2 provinces in Canada (Alberta and Quebec) have comprehensive unclaimed property legislation in place and provide searchable databases. BC has a voluntary system in place.

Check out some links that can help you locate unclaimed financial assets in Canada           Where to look in Canada

The staggering amount of unclaimed financial assets and the alarming rate at which unclaimed assets are increasing should be sufficient evidence of why all individuals and families need to properly safeguard their financial assets and the information about those assets appropriately. Helping with that challenge, is one of the core missions behind LegacyTracker.

Getting organized means centralizing information about your assets and sharing that information in case of an emergency or what we call a “What if” situation.

LegacyTracker enables you to keep track of your assets on an ongoing basis and share that information with loved ones (or advisors) as you wish when you wish. 

International Credit Union Day

Happy International Credit Union Day !

Credit Unions are an important feature of Canadian Life

Co-operative financial institutions are owned & democratically controlled by their members & Canada has a long history of having a strong co-operative financial services sector with Credit Unions playing a significant role. Indeed, Canada has the world’s highest per capita membership in the credit union movement, with over 10 million members, or about one-third of the Canadian population belonging to one. That makes them 100% Canadian owned. In over 380 Canadian communities, they are the only financial institution, offering essential financial services for those local economies. However, all Canadian Credit Unions pride themselves on having a local focus:

  •  More than 736 credit unions (and caisses populaires) in more than 3,100 locations
  •  Over 10.2 million members
  •  $303 billion in combined assets
  •  More than 27,000 employees

The Canadian credit union system contributed more than $49.3 Million through direct donations, financial services, sponsorships, scholarships and bursaries in 2013 (up from $35.6 Million the year prior)

The 2014 Ipsos® Best Banking Awards for the 10th consecutive year has reported that Canadians have ranked credit unions first among all Canadian financial institutions for:

  • Overall Customer Service Excellence
  • Branch Service Excellence
  • “Value my Business”

Credit unions tied for first among all financial institutions for :

  • Financial Planning & Advice
  • Automated Telephone Banking Excellence and
  • Live Agent Telephone Banking Excellence

Read more about the Ipsos® Best Banking Awards here 

According to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business,  Credit Unions also outperform all banks in serving small and medium-sized enterprises. Credit Unions have been ranked #1 by CFIB members in 4 of the last 5 of their triennial surveys (2000,2003,2009 & 2012) . Read more here 

Credit unions also boast a very rich history of innovation.

Thank a Credit Union for many of these “Firsts” that for the most part, we all now take for granted:

  •  First financial institutions to lend to women in their own names (in the 1960s)
  •  First to offer daily interest savings
  •  First full-service ATMs
  •  First fully functional online banking
  •  First loans based on borrower character
  •  First payroll deduction service for deposits and loan payments
  •  First open mortgages
  •  First home equity lines of credit
  •  First debit card service.
  •  First registered education plans.
  •  First branchless bank (Citizens Bank)
  •  First cheque imaging service

So Happy International Credit Union Day ! A day that internationally, is a day to recognize the positive impact that Credit Unions make in their communities around the world. ICU Day. Have a good one.

Credit Unions across Canada matter. You can read more of the facts behind recent changes announced in the 2013 Federal Budget here 

CUNA_ICU_Logo_Final_WC

Worries of the Wealthy (HNW) in 2014

 

US Trust 2014

The 2014 version of the U.S Trust Annual Insights on Wealth and Worth was recently released. The annual survey provides insight on the wealth management challenges confronting high net worth and ultra high net worth individuals in the US.

High Net worth is defined for the purposes of this survey as being $3 Million or more in investable assets. The 2014 survey sheds light particularly on the growing challenges and needs that come with more complex family dynamics including multi-generational and extended family situations. Worries of the Wealthy.

Some highlights that we found particularly interesting and some of the challenges that LegacyTracker can help with….

The Top 5 risks to family wealth

Divorce, Addictions, Untimely death or disability of a primary income earner, medical problems  and disagreements over inheritance or distribution of family assets

Family circumstances US Trust 2014

“The modern American family is more diverse than it once was, adding to the challenges of wealth management for high-net worth investors and their advisors. Changing family structures and roles among multiple generations of immediate and extended family members affect the way family members interact, communicate  and manage their wealth”

Ranking the most important reasons for having an estate plan

US Trust 2014 Reasons for Estate Planning

How important are Financial Legacies ?

While 60% of those surveyed thought it was important that they leave a financial legacy, 96% of wealthy parents are concerned that their children will be mature enough to receive an inheritance until at least age 25 and 37% think the ideal age is between 30-34. That might explain why only 38% of wealthy parents have fully disclosed their financial status to adult children over age 25.

Executor choices

Perhaps some troubling challenges on the horizon?

  • More than 3/4 of those surveyed have named a family member or friend as executor
  • Most often, individuals name their spouse as an executor but…
  • Nearly a quarter of those surveyed had not yet chosen an executor or trustee
  • 22% have not named a trustee because they have not established a trust

Families and Friends as Executors US Trust 2014

Few consider capacity of executors

Executor challenges

There were many challenges noted by those that have served as an executor or trustee. The 2nd biggest challenge cited was…having access or knowledge relating to where the records and important information was kept.  We would suggest that this issue adds to the biggest challenge noted being, the time commitment of time require to execute a will. Time is money and time can also add to the grief already being experienced in the case of a loved one who has been named as executor which happens a majority of the time even in high net worth families.

 

US Trust 2014 Survey on Executors

Yes. LegacyTracker can help with some of these challenges; important documents & information is critical & so is the sharing of that information as required. Our built in alerts & reminders are all about ensuring that the proper documentation & information is safeguarded.

 

Read the full US Trust Survey US Trust 2014 survey on High Net worth individuals

 

 

Sharing is caring

Family Finances – Sharing is Caring

They say Sharing is Caring in life..& we think that’s particularly true with regards to your Family Finances …

Money management & communication is key when thinking about your family; your family’s emotional & physical survival often hinges on financial stability. Shared & effective communication about money matters is critical to money management but in many families defined roles are established where one spouse takes on the role CFO/Administrator and the other becomes reliant on their spouse to manage the family finances and keep it all ‘together’. It might work; but it’s a risk. It can increase the pressure & responsibility that one spouse feels with managing all that information while the other spouse is left dangerously vulnerable.

It’s not an ideal situation because we all know that life can take unpredictable twists, like a divorce, a death or an incapacity. That’s one of many reasons that we developed LegacyTracker..we think It’s critical that information is at minimum shared if not managed together. Our friend Mark Goodfield who blogs as the Blunt Bean Counter has written extensively on the topic of Stress Testing your finances for a sudden death.  He emphasizes the need for an information checklist for executors/spouses in case of death.

In combination with defining your goals together, we think sharing this information together will enable you to make wiser choices and reach those goals successfully.

LegacyTracker – allows flexible sharing – as little or as much as you wish. Share with your loved ones or your financial advisors or your executor.

Here is a list of some of the details that can be documented & stored inside LegacyTracker:

  1. Assets: including bank accounts, registered/non registered investments, real property, personal property & business assets etc.
  2. Liabilities—including loans, credit card debt, mortgages, lines of credit, business liabilities etc.
  3. Contacts-including medical contacts, professional advisors and family
  4. Digital Assets-including loyalty & reward programs, logons & passwords etc.
  5. Insurance-including disability, property, life, group as well as home & auto
  6. Estate Planning —including Power of Attorneys, Wills, Ethical Wills, Final wishes, Letters etc.
  7. Health & Medical—including immunizations, contacts, history etc.

When you consolidate all of the important information into one secure place in an organized manner we think the benefits are many for you and your loved ones.  LegacyTracker is not just about peace of mind & emergency preparedness in case of a physical or natural disaster or a death or incapacity. It’s about living – simplifying & securing your information which we believe is empowering . Knowing what you have and what you need to work on will help you become more proactive about your financial & estate planning goals.  That’s the mission behind LegacyTracker.

Who`s in charge of your family finances ?

Talking about your family finances makes for a happy marriage

So says a recent survey from Experian Consumer Services about Love & Marriage and Credit Open dialogue about family finances helps avoid conflict and can prevent one spouse feeling that they carry more of a burden over the other. It`s also apparently sexy! 73% of women and 60% of men in the survey said open communication with their spouse or partner about finances makes him/her more attractive.

So…It makes you wonder why on average, only 39% of all married adults are sharing responsibility for their family finances ?

Family Finances

 

Who`s in charge of your household finances

 

LegacyTracker can help you share & communicate information about your family finances. And, since open communication about such matters is key..We think that means that LegacyTracker can help you have a happy marriage.

Being financially aware is… Sexy

Being financially aware is sexy and will make you more attractive ….Forget the Beauty Makeover!

Thanks to a recent survey ( Experian Credit Score Marriage Survey Report 2014 by Edelman Berland) there is now compelling evidence that you can forgo the beauty makeover. It’s all about being financially aware (or mostly)

Married adults value financial responsibility more than physical attractiveness in a long-term romantic partner (spouse)

What makes a spouse attractiveÉ

 

And…financial compatibility is more important in a big way for both married and unmarried adults than Politics, Religion, Career goals & even sex & Intimacy…

Financial compatibility is sexy

 

We think that means that LegacyTracker can make you sexier by helping you become more financially aware. LegacyTracker allows you (and your spouse) to simplify, safeguard and share your important financial information. LegacyTracker comes pre-loaded with a comprehensive set of templates that enables you to become empowered with your own financial information, a net worth tracker and reminders and alerts about outdated or missing information. Yes. Who knew that could make you more sexy right ?

Definitely Good to know.

Here`s more from that survey

Financial awareness makes for a good marriage

Bitcoin - a headache for Estate Planners

Bitcoin – Virtual currency & new headache for estate planning

As if dealing with digital assets from an estate planning perspective was not difficult enough…now there is Bitcoin.

Bitcoin and other virtual currencies are creating  interesting and unique challenges for Estate lawyers and owners who are giving consideration to their estate plans (not to mention the future challenges for those that are not)

Fortunately, bitcoin was given due consideration in the new Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (FADAA) which specifies that `digital assets include digital currency and similar products currently in existence and yet to be invented. This Act is good news if you live in the US and your State takes the opportunity to use the Uniform Act as their legislation. The Act allows a representative or fiduciary to deal with digital assets in a similar way as they would for financial or physical assets. It shields those representatives from any inadvertent liability. Thus far there is no such progress on such legislation in Canada as far as we know.

As for some of the other issues surrounding Bitcoin, there`s a good summary from Bloomberg BNA which you can find here or as a download here: Bitcoin is creating new headaches for Estate Planners as a download

 

Estate Planning for Digital Assets

UFADAA makes estate planning for digital assets a little easier

Thanks to the Uniform Law Commission, (an US National Non profit/Non partisan organization that supplies “ready to go” legislation) comprehensive provisions are now available relating to Digital Assets.  That should help make estate planning for digital assets a little easier going forward if it’s utilized by individuals US states.

The Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (UFADAA) makes legislating digital inheritances easier and can alleviate the burden and the heartbreak that can come when families are unable to access simple things like digital photos or messages from loved ones that have passed away. The purpose of UFADAA is to vest fiduciaries (executors, guardians, agents powers of attorneys etc.) with the authority to access, control, or copy digital assets, while respecting the privacy and intent of the account holder.

The Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act solves the problem using the concept of “media neutrality.”  If a fiduciary would have access to a tangible asset, that fiduciary will also have access to a similar type of digital asset.  

The State of Delaware has taken the lead already and became the first US State to enact such legislation by enacting the Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets and Digital Accounts Act this past week. It gives the account holder the power to decide what happens to his or her digital assets in the same way they do for physical or financial assets. At present, that power lies with the tech and media companies in control of the assets. 

There is hope that all 50 states will adopt the Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act so that access to content will be honoured in the way that the user would wish. The Act can be referenced here :  UFADAA-7-17-2014

In the meantime, Google does provide a tool to help users deal with the problem which they have called Inactive Account Manager . You can also keep up to date with any progress or changes by way of a blog we discovered authored by well-known US estate planning lawyer James D. Lamm. His blog is called digitalpassing.com

Unfortunately, it seems there is no such update on What Canada is doing on this subject (Sorry).

Estate Mistake Amy Winehouse

Estate Mistakes – Amy Winehouse

Amy Winehouse was a controversial but talented British singer who died of accidental alcohol poisoning at the “too young” age of 27 in 2011. She also died “intestate,” meaning that she did not leave a valid will.  Her former spouse who she was quite close to at the time of her death received nothing. She might have wished it otherwise, but she left no will so her estate passed by law to her “natural heirs” as determined by law which did not include her ex-husband or her siblings. Instead, her divorced parents were entitled to the bulk of her estate and her Dad was appointed the administrator of her estate shortly after her death. It’s tragic enough to lose a child but being the administrator of your child’s estate adds to the grief.

Adding to the tragedy of her death is the fact that 3 years after Amy’s death her parents are still settling her accounts. They have been forced to use much of Amy’s wealth of some $7 million or so to settle bills and debts and taxes. Amy had 6 music companies to account for and her parents have taken out loans to cover the costs of dealing with her personal and business affairs. Sales of her music after her death should help their financial situation but as her Dad has noted “it’s been “an incredible drain on our resources. We had to have a lot of security and it cost us an absolute fortune”. 

A basic will or a trust, would have ensured that Amy Winehouse’s estate would be passed to the person of her choice which may or may not be the same as those designated by the default rules of the legislature. A basic will or trust might have also saved a lot of estate taxes by allowing assets to pass outside of probate via beneficiary designations and/or trusts. And…some basic organization to her estate might have saved her parents additional grief that comes with trying to track down details and settle final accounts.

 

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

Digital Assets – in Life and in Death

In our increasingly digital world, digital assets are adding up…the average digital user (like you) has an estimated $35,000 in digital assets 

Digital assets include purchased movies, music, games, digital photos, communications and social media profiles including blogs like this. Many of these digital accounts can be subject to complicated terms of service agreements, which can make it frustrating or impossible for  loved ones to access. Depending on where you live, such terms of service agreements might even put loved ones in legal trouble related to anti-hacking or privacy statutes, if they try to log on to your accounts after you die.

 

Estate Plans for Digital Assets are becoming more critical 

That’s why it’s important to include detailed directions and information about your digital assets into your estate plan and save those instructions somewhere safe (LegacyTracker provides a spot for that)

An estimated 30M Facebook users died in the first 8 years of Facebook alone 

A good visual guide about what happens to your social media profiles after death comes by way of Dan Shaffer at WebpageFX

The world is changing and this guide is not a definitive answer in all cases. Clearly, Different Sites / Different Rules / Different Data & Different Documentation is accumulated & required after death of you or a loved one.

Here’s some more Facebook Trivia:  with 1 billion users already using Facebook, in the unlikely event that growth stopped on Facebook completely, it’s estimated that the number of deceased users would outnumber those living by 2065. If Facebook continues to grow and memorialized accounts are never removed, then deceased users will exceed living users by 2130.

LegacyTracker can help you organize & safeguard important information about your digital assets -in life and death 

Digital Assets and Death

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

$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

Safeguard your family

Safeguard your family from What If scenarios

Talking about Money has historically been considered as “UnFun” but these days it’s critical. What’s even less fun than taking about Money? Money and Death.     Yes. Thinking through all of the unpleasantness that comes with death is considerably UnFun but being unprepared for a sudden or unexpected death in your family is even more so.

Statistics indicate that women will often outlive their husbands but that’s not always the case. We all know Stuff happens & that includes BAD Stuff. That’s why it’s important that each spouse take an active role in their household/family finances and know where stuff is and what they have.

Others have talked about this in their columns or blogs like the Blunt Bean Counter in his blog post “Stress Testing your Spouse’s Financial Readiness if you were to Die Suddenly” and Roma Luciw in her Globe and Mail Article Why you should stress-test your finances for a sudden death 

The bottom line is about safeguarding your family from additional grief & expense in an already stressful time by ensuring that both spouses have all the important information necessary to manage through such a time.

Let me say that I’m quite familiar with the kinds of scenarios that can occur when a death happens. As an Accountant, I have helped many overcome all sorts of challenges that have been brought about by an untimely death of a loved one (not that there is such a thing as a timely death)

I’m also quite personally aware of the stress that comes from being the “CFO of the family“. That would be the spouse that manages & holds all of the important details relating to the lives of your family. Your family might work that way as Lots of families do: One spouse is the CFO & manages all of the important financial/legal/estate paperwork & the other spouse operates (sometimes blissfully) unaware of all of those important details behind your household finances. It’s not a good position to be in no matter which role you have. As the CFO in my family, I still worry that my spouse is not going to know where everything is and whether he will “leave money on the table” It’s a pretty UnFun responsibility to be the one solely responsible for the “info”.

And now you know some of my personal secrets & some of my motivation behind LegacyTracker. it’s about ensuring that my family and yours have their important details of living life documented, safeguarded & shared with those who need to know. Details like:

  • Where the will and power of attorneys are
  • Having a readily available & accurate list of assets with account numbers & contact information
  • Having a current and comprehensive list of passwords for your digital assets and non-digital assets
  • Knowing the location of important legal agreements like income tax returns and real estate deeds
  • Knowing exactly how much insurance you have and who are your insurance contacts
  • Having the opportunity to write and share details about your final wishes/arrangements

Nothing can be left to chance.  It’s up to each of us to safeguard our financial legacies and that’s how LegacyTracker can help. That’s what we’re about.

 

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:

Orphan Policies increase the risk of Unclaimed Policies

What makes it even more likely that an Insurance policy may go unclaimed  ?

Orphan Policies 

To clarify, Orphan policies do not relate to coverage for Orphans but rather to the fact that over time, lots of policyholders become “unattached” to a servicing agent. The policy holders become Orphans in a sense.

A recent article from  Insurance Business entitled Orphan Policyholders – How many are there ? noted :

Life insurance

Statistics vary about how many policyholders are orphans with figures being reported as high as 50 per cent for some companies. In an economic downturn more agents tend to leave the business, which creates more orphans. This suggests that the number of orphans likely has increased over the last several year.

 

The same article notes a recent survey conducted by Toronto based NewLink Group that estimated orphan policies being as high as 36% of personal life policy holders in Canada and 29% in the U.S. Orphan policies are more likely to be those purchased from a life agent/broker (41 % in Canada & 39% in the U.S.) as compared to those purchased from a financial planner or advisor (18 % in Canada & 22 % in the U.S.)

Whats at risk when a policy becomes orphaned ?

  • Beneficiary changes
  • Address changes
  • Insurance policy maturities as well as
  • Awareness of an actual claim occurring

A major gap develops when individuals and families may no longer have a direct contact with their contract provider by way of servicing agent. Unclaimed policies are more likely to be at risk of becoming unclaimed.  Orphaned policies may provide another reason why industry experts have estimated that Unclaimed policies may be as high as 20-30% of all life insurance policies