Money and monetary property can become unclaimed property due to lack of communication between businesses and government agencies and owners. Under New Brunswick’s Unclaimed Property Act (Section 4), money and monetary property are considered to be unclaimed if no activity has occurred for three years (10 years for credit union accounts).
You may have unclaimed monetary property if:
- You left a job, but never returned to receive your last paycheque.
- You had a relative who passed on, leaving an estate, but the heirs were never located.
- You opened and deposited money in credit union accounts and forgot about it.
- You received a cheque you did not cash.
When fully in place, the Unclaimed Property program will allow New Brunswickers to use a free online tool to search for and claim their unclaimed property that has been remitted to the program. You can subscribe here for updates on the program. Until then, you should keep track of your money and monetary property so that it doesn’t become unclaimed. You should contact institutions that hold your money every year, especially if you changed address or marital status. Keep accurate financial records, and record all insurance policies, security investments as well as rent and utility deposits.
As unclaimed property programs come into effect in Canada, companies inevitably pop up offering to do searches for a fee. However, you can search for forgotten property or money on provincial and state websites free of charge. For a list of other jurisdictions that offer this service for free, visit the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA) website or missingmoney.com. Businesses or government agencies can also be contacted directly if you feel you are owed money.
You may choose to accept the fee-for-service help of a person or agency to locate your property, but taking the time to search on your own may be worthwhile. If you do purchase the services of a property locator, it is best to get the arrangement in writing. New Brunswick’s Unclaimed Property legislation limits third-party compensation to 10 per cent or less of the value of the found property (Section 16 in General Rule).