The week the Albert Government asked Albertans, “Will the owner of $900,000 please stand up?”
Alberta’s ‘shelter for abandoned money,’ officially known as the Unclaimed Property Registry, wants Albertans to search for their lost money.
More than 250,000 Albertans could find forgotten funds, which are currently resting in a pot worth about $103 million. The total includes almost $900,000 in uncashed dividends belonging to an individual Albertan. It is the highest individual value ever held in the registry.
What is waiting to be claimed?
Financial assets currently held in the registry include uncashed cheques for government-issued benefits, employment income, scholarships, utility refunds or insurance proceeds, and other funds such as investment-related income or interest payments.
Alberta’s Unclaimed Property Registry helps individuals and corporations find their lost money. The registry was established in 2008 by the Unclaimed Personal Property and Vested Property Act.
The legislation requires entities, such as businesses, government, utility corporations, insurance companies, and universities, to try and locate rightful owners, and, if unsuccessful, to report the unclaimed property to the registry.
Depending on the type, property must be dormant for one to 15 years before it can be declared abandoned and eligible for transfer to the Unclaimed Property Registry.
Owners have 10 years to claim their property from the registry. After this time, the money goes to the government’s general revenue.
The Unclaimed Property Registry can hold both tangible (e.g., jewelry, art) and intangible (e.g., cheques) items. To date, the registry has only received intangible property.
For the 2019-20 fiscal year, approximately $840,000 was returned to 470 rightful owners. And since 2008, the registry has returned more than $8 million to about 5,500 claimants.
To date, the highest value claimed from the registry is $368,124. It was paid in 2019 to a corporation for uncashed government and insurance cheques.
The second highest claim was paid to an individual in 2014 for uncashed dividends valued at $144,029.
How to search the registry
To search for their missing money, Albertans can visit MissingMoney.com to see if they have any unclaimed property registered in their name.
People can search for free, across multiple jurisdictions with unclaimed property programs.
If unclaimed property appears under their name, they are asked to follow the prompts to submit an online claim form and provide supporting documents such as proof of identity and ownership.