As executive director of the BC Unclaimed Property Society, Levitz oversees about $90 million that is looking for a home. It’s accumulated cash that is part of unclaimed estates or has been left in credit union and brokerage accounts. It also includes forgotten real estate deposits, unpaid wages and overpaid debt collections, she said.
“It’s always nice to reunite people with their money,” said Levitz, a lawyer. “It’s really, really nice when it’s an older person and they can really use that money.” Last year the society reunited a pensioner with pension cash totalling $110,000. In a recent case, Levitz handed over a $300,000 cheque to a person who had won a business dispute in court more than 10 years ago.
The society, established in 2003, took over administration of the B.C. Unclaimed Property Act from the provincial finance ministry. It has paid out $5 million in claims since then, Levitz said. The Vancouver Foundation receives a portion of unclaimed money annually for its programs. The good news is there is no statue of limitations on unclaimed money. The oldest outstanding claim is an estate file dating back to Gold Rush days: 1859. The bad news is that claims do not collect interest, so the 1859 claim would have more historical than financial interest to any claimant, said Levitz.
Check it out!