Tag: Bank of Canada

14 May

“Bono Vacantia” – Latin for Ownerless Goods or Unclaimed Property

James Jacuta Estate & Trust Tags: , , , , 0 Comments

A wave of changes in how wills can be signed is sweeping over the legal profession with the force of a tsunami in the last month. While there is still momentum for change, why not include other areas of estate law like an online mechanism to search for unclaimed estate assets. Now is the time to do it.

In the United Kingdom the government posts a weekly list of estates with unclaimed property in those cases where the responsible local authorities were unable to find the legal heirs of estates. It is known as the “Bono Vacantia “ list, and it also provides instructions on making claims where someone has died and not left a will, or where family could not be located.

This publicly available list works well and is similar to the Bank of Canada’s online list of bank accounts with unclaimed balances that can be found here.

In Ontario, there is no publicly available system in place for unclaimed property, or for provincially regulated financial institutions like credit unions, or for estates with unknown heirs. There have been attempts in the past, but, legislation was never put into force. Other provinces, like British Columbia, do have systems in place. In Ontario, if the Office of  Public Guardian and Trustee does not locate the beneficiaries of an estate then the money will remain unclaimed. There is no way for a beneficiary to search online for inheritance assets that they might be legally entitled to receive.

The current wave of changes in estate law forced by the pandemic also creates opportunities for further changes  – why not do it now?

For more information on unclaimed assets please see:

Reuniting forgotten dollars with their rightful owners!

Prepare an Inventory of Your Assets

Lost and Found – $5 Billion

Thanks for reading.

James Jacuta

23 May

What can you do with damaged cash in Canada?

Doreen So Estate & Trust, Executors and Trustees, General Interest, Uncategorized Tags: , , , , , 0 Comments

I noticed a rip in a twenty dollar bank note in my wallet the other day. I was struck by the rip because Canadian bank notes are now made with a polymer that is meant to last longer than paper bank notes.  The idea that money can be accidentally damaged is a potential issue for estate trustees who are charged with the responsibility of gathering and preserving the assets of an estate until it’s distributed to the beneficiaries.

Luckily enough, The Bank of Canada has a policy on contaminated or mutilated bank notes.  Under certain circumstances, The Bank of Canada will redeem bank notes that have become contaminated or mutilated beyond normal wear and tear and issue the claimant with replacement bank notes.  The Bank of Canada will carefully scrutinize each note and the circumstances of each claim in order to determine whether the claim is legitimate.

 

 

According to The Bank of Canada, a claim will be rejected if it is their opinion that:

  • the identity of the claimant cannot be substantiated;
  • the notes are counterfeit or there are reasons to believe that the notes were acquired or are connected to money laundering or other criminal acts;
  • there has been an attempt to defraud the Bank or there exists contradictory or improbable explanations about significant aspects of the claim, such as how the notes were damaged or how they came into possession of the claimant;
  • any of the security features of the notes have been removed or altered or where the notes have otherwise been altered or damaged deliberately or in a systematic fashion, including dyed or chemically washed or treated, by a process that could be reasonably expected to have the effect of altering them.

While this particular problem might seem unlikely to occur, our blog has covered past instances where cash was found to have been destroyed.  There is also a very thorough wikiHow on how to replace damaged currency in the U.S. with some practical tips for worldwide application, such as tips on how to package and deliver the damaged currency to the appropriate authorities.

Thanks for reading!

Doreen So

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