Tag Archives: savings bonds

Budget Talk: The $2 Billion Ontario doesn’t seem to want

Ontario is seeking budget input from Ontarians but there’s been no action so far on an old budget item now worth $2 Billion

There’s approximately $2 billion in Unclaimed Property that is sitting with various organizations across Ontario that needs to be returned to hard-working Ontarians. $2 Billion would also serve the Ontario budget in a big way now and in years to come.

Ontario is the largest jurisdiction in North America without an unclaimed property law to protect consumers. While Ontario was the first Canadian province to pass unclaimed property legislation in 1989 the statute was not proclaimed into force and the legislation was repealed 22 years later in 2011. The 2012 budget announced Ontario’s intention to try again and create an unclaimed property scheme that would mirror that of the US where legislation has been in force for over 50 years. And yet, there has been no follow-up from consultations that occurred in 2013.  Why  ?

We submitted an 8 page document advocating for the rights of Ontario residents for this legislation during consultations in 2013. We and jurisdictions around the world feel pretty passionately that Unclaimed Property is an important aspect of consumer protection that is missing in Ontario. The estimated $2 billion + in unclaimed/lost financial assets for Ontario comes in a variety of forms including unclaimed bank/trust/credit union accounts, insurance policies, share certificates, dividends, unclaimed wages, bonds, pensions and other property types including prepaid funeral deposits and utility deposits etc..

Unclaimed Ontario savings bonds alone total more than $65 Million.  

The Law Society of Upper Canada (Ontario) has more than $3 Million in unclaimed trust accounts. No one knows what the total of Unclaimed accounts held by Ontario credit unions would total because for the last 20 years, Credit Unions have been waiting for further instructions.  Legislation would ensure that any organization in Ontario holding unclaimed or lost deposits or financial assets would transfer them to the Province and a comprehensive database would be available for Ontarians to look for those assets while the Province or a related agency would proactively look for legal owners.

Despite the fact that no ones loses track of their assets on purpose  and assets generally become lost as a result of a tragic event or forgetfulness, in Ontario there is no law that requires the holders of unclaimed financial assets to look for the asset owners. So no one including the Province is looking for you if your Great Aunt Martha purchased a life insurance policy for you or if your Grandma Shirley opened a credit union account for you when you were born. We would argue that`s not “very Canadian” .

Legislation would be a win/win for Ontario residents and the Province of Ontario as unclaimed financial assets are typically utilized by the government or jurisdiction that holds those accumulated assets until claimed. The USA has more than $58 Billion in Unclaimed financial assets being used in this way. Unclaimed assets are sadly becoming a larger part of the revenue for many states including most notably California and New York.
While facts are sparse given a lack of legislation across Canada (outside of Alberta and Quebec where legislation has been enacted), there has been an alarming increase in unclaimed financial assets in recent years. Given aging demographics and the digital world in which we live, that increase will probably rise significantly. So why is Canada and Ontario in particular so far behind other jurisdictions like the US, Australia, New Zealand, the UK etc?

More importantly, why is a cash strapped Ontario government not following up with Unclaimed Property legislation that they started re-discussing in 2012  ?

Does the government of Ontario really have too many other pressing priorities that might be as advantageous as Unclaimed Property Legislation both from a financial and consumer protection perspective  ?

It’s time for Ontario to catch up and do what is right for Ontario taxpayers/residents and their the Provincial treasury. Have your say during budget consultations with Ontario by linking to the Province of Ontario here   We have and we hope you will share this post with others if you agree with the need for Unclaimed Property Legislation in Ontario.

Lost & returned savings bonds make a perfect Christmas story

Lost but found savings bonds

$127,000 in lost & returned savings bonds – make for a pretty perfect Christmas story but…

A (very kind) Massachusetts bargain hunter last month returned  $127,000 in matured U.S. savings bonds he found in a desk that he had paid $40 for. The bonds had been tucked away for safekeeping for many years despite the fact that the owner hadn’t forgotten about the bonds; he had just forgotten what he had done with them. He had searched for the missing bonds for many years even going as far as seeking help from the US Federal Government via their unclaimed bond program. His attempts were unsuccessful and so the recent return of the long-lost bonds makes for a really nice story of kindness this time of year.

 The Christmas angel  is Phil LeClerc, of Weymouth, Mass who deserves a great Christmas after making it a Merry Christmas for another family in Massachusetts.  Mr. LeClerc promptly returned the long-lost savings bonds after finding them quite by accident, to the auction house where he had made the desk purchase.

The lost & returned U.S. savings bonds  in $500, $1,000 and $10,000 denominations — belonged to a 94-year-old man who did not have enough money to pay to live in an assisted living home…but now he does. Those lost & returned savings bonds will be tremendously helpful to his future care.

Read more about the story here 

A happy ending indeed which is a nice boost to our faith in human kindness but sad at the same time and a lesson for others. What if the bonds had not been found & returned? The family had been in the process of liquidating all of the man’s assets in order to help care for him; hence the sale of the now-famous desk. There seems little doubt that the bonds could have been useful for many years. The (anonymous) bond owner had been looking for the bonds for many years and so it seems safe to assume that the emotional and financial drain had taken a toll on him & his family.

No one loses Financial Assets on purpose.

Lessons abound in this story.

It’s important to store vital documents in a safe place and share that information with those you trust. Copies of hard to replace documents are also helpful and would have proved really helpful in this case where the elderly gentlemen knew he had purchased the bonds but had no proof or documentation in order to claim them.

Our goal with LegacyTracker is to prevent exactly this kind of misfortune from happening. LegacyTracker helps families secure & share important information including copies of critical documents with trusted loved ones or advisors.

show me the money

Show me State wants to Show more Unclaimed Bonds

The “Show Me” State Legislature of Missouri is moving forward with legislation to move more money into the hands of its residents (and the State Treasury)

If new legislation becomes law, the State Treasurer, Clint Zweifel will start the process of redeeming US Savings Bonds currently held by the Federal Government when those bonds have been misplaced or lost in order to help reunite Missourians with their money. That amount is potentially in the Millions of Dollars.

The Benefit to the State? Missouri would safeguard the cash value of the bonds for owners and enable the State’s Unclaimed Property team to work towards finding the rightful owners. Owners or heirs would find federal bonds using www.showmemoney.com as they do for other financial assets safeguarded by the State of Missouri.

The State Treasury already holds more than $810 million in Unclaimed Property for more than 4.7 million owners. During Fiscal Year 2013, the State Treasurer returned a record-breaking $39.5 million to more than 135,000 accounts.

The Bank of Canada (as of December 2013) holds approximately $420 Million in Canada Savings Bonds that have matured but have not been redeemed. While Canadians can search the database on the Bank of Canada website for Unclaimed bank accounts (Federally chartered bank accounts (held in Canadian Dollars only) where there has been no activity for more than 10 years, there is no equivalent site for Unclaimed Canada Savings Bonds.