Monthly Archives: February 2014

Canada -34 Million people but Billions in Unclaimed Funds ?

$320M  Now…$500M* in the Bank of Canada (5 year change)LegacyTracker Poster

$125M Now    $259M*   in Matured CSBs (5 year change)

+ 20-30% of insurance policies + Pension Funds + Shares + Bonds +

Safety Deposit Boxes + Security Deposits + Credit Union Accounts + etc. etc.

Estimated Total:  $4B (Canada) 

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McAfee the online security organization have commissioned a few surveys over the years that show the growing value of digital assets. Their research in 2011 (provided by MSI International) surveyed more than 3,000 consumers across 10 countries and shows varying values of digital assets.

Digital Assets? They include music and video downloads, software programs, photos, career info, personal records, email etc.

mcafee-unprotected-digital-assets

Canadians estimated their digital assets on average to be worth $47,074 which is slightly behind Americans ($54,722) and ahead of the UK ($38,360). McAfee’s study also suggested that it would take an average of some 82 hours for most of us to restore our digital assets if lost. That would be the estimate if we were alive. If we are not alive…it’s anyone’s guess if they could be restored at all. Digital assets/Digital passwords need to be backed up and shared somewhere safe

mcafee-digital-assets-canad

In 2013, they released a new survey specific to Canadian consumers’ attitudes towards online surfing, web security and data protection.  This survey showed Canadians placing a value of $32,000 on the digital assets stored on their devices (not sure why the decrease from the earlier study) This study showed that most of us are not taking appropriate precautions to backup and safeguard our digital assets.

Protecting online assests needs to be made more of a priority for our families and that will come from education and having a good handle on secure technology.

McAffee Cares is an Online Safety for Kids program which hopes to train school aged children and adults on ways to stay safe, secure and maintain good ethics in online behavour.  You can learn more about their program here http://mcafee.com/onlinesafety.

LegacyTracker has made provisions for safeguarding your digital assets

Mark Carney and Dead Money

Open letter to Mark Carney dated June 11 2013

Dear Mr. Carney:

There’s been a fair bit of ongoing analysis and controversy surrounding the remarks you made some months ago about Corporate Canada sitting on huge piles of “dead money” on their balance sheets that could be better utilized to feed the economy or failing that; returned to investors.

Financial Post Aug 22 2012
The Globe and Mail Aug 22, 2012
Toronto Star Sept 17 2012
Canadian Business Feb 12, 2013
Ottawa Business Journal Dec 3 2012
CBC News August 23 2012

 

Estimates vary but it seems that the total balance of ‘dead money’ has increased as much as 40% since 2009; and may total as much as $526 Billion… and that has you concerned.

That is indeed a lot of cash.  No question there.

But, as you head out on your new adventure and leave the Bank of Canada,  I think it’s only fair to point out that corporations are not alone in holding onto ‘dead money’ that could be better utilized to grow the economy.

I am a bit embarrassed to point out that our own highly respected Bank of Canada which you have so masterfully governed for the past 5 years, is itself currently sitting on $500Million in unclaimed funds which I think we could agree may also be described as “dead money” and money that could be much better utilized to feed the economy….if not the actual owners.  That might be possible, if only the Bank of Canada took a more proactive approach to finding those owners.

Indeed, the rise in the balance of unclaimed funds in the Bank of Canada certainly appears to rival the rise in ‘dead money’ in Corporations with an increase of 55% over the past 5 years (!) That’s an extraordinary increase on an extraordinary balance of ‘dead money’ given that the this balance of $500M only includes amounts turned over by federally (not provincially) regulated banks, and only after 10 years of inactivity and only where those accounts are held in Canadian dollars (no foreign $ amounts).

Alas, despite this extraordinary increase on an extraordinary balance on a population of only some 34M Canadians, very little awareness and very little effort seems to be being made in trying to locate owners. Granted, the Bank of Canada does update this balance once a year and provides an online database for unclaimed funds; whereas, the same treatment is not afforded to the balance of Unclaimed/Matured Canada Savings Bonds which are also piling up at the BoC.

It is not a published number but I understand the value of Unclaimed/Matured Canada Savings Bonds totaled $259M as of this past April which I believe would make that an increase of $147M or 231% or over the past 5 years.

Extraordinary and Sad at the same time.

So, using the same argument you have made for ‘dead money’ in Corporate Canada…for the sake of the economy AND in this case, for the sake of Canadians generally, don’t you think we could put a little more effort into reuniting this money with owners?  

This is after all, the age of technology so one would think we could apply a little technology to finding owners and making things right. But as well,  if some inspiration is needed into this challenge, we can also look south for some good ideas given that the US has had consistent & comprehensive unclaimed property legislation in place for 50+ years. In the US, unlike the situation in Canada, unclaimed property legislation is an  important part of consumer protection legislation. Sadly, that’s not the case in Canada; but it should be. Each state in the US has enacted unclaimed property legislation requiring the transfer of all unclaimed property to  that State who then takes a very proactive role in helping to return assets to owners.

So before you go…perhaps you and Mr. Poloz could give the ‘dead money’ in the Bank of Canada some thought.

 

 

Ontario-2nd try at Unclaimed Intangible Property Legislation

Originally published by LegacyTracker July 25 2013

Despite Ontario being the first province to pass Unclaimed property legislation in Canada (1989), they could not get it all together (the rules) for a period of 22 years later and the Bill was repealed in Dec 2011. Yes. Sad. Many Ontario families are no doubt owed some money.

On the upside they are trying again. Consultations have been taking place and we await next steps. Read about the consultations with the Ministry of the Attorney General here 

My many suggestions to the Attorney General inlcuded this one:

No more push to paperless until Canada gets all Provinces onboard with Unclaimed Property Legislation.

Yesterday I received a note from my RESP provider (Invesco Trimark). No more PRINTED semi-annual statements effective 2014. Not cool because this increases the risk that any funds with Invesco Trimark will go unclaimed. But Age Unfriendly as well. Do all Invesco Trimark Investors have online access? Really?

The US considers such legislation as an important component of Consumer Protection Legislation-and it is! So…why are we some 40 years behind? The US has $58B in unclaimed funds/property despite the program but searching for assets is much easier.

In Canada ? The total is at least $4B and the searching is difficult.

Your Growing Digital Estate-Why we worry

This is a good article from the Student Lawyer website  The choice for aspiring lawyers (& us)

Digital Estate Planning: Is Google Your Next Estate Planner? 

This article picks up on a discussion with Jamie Hopkins who is Assistant Professor of Taxation at New York Life Center for Retirement Income about the challenges facing traditional estate planning in relation to the disposition of digital electronic assets

Google your estate planner

…”the unique nature of digital assets, coupled with the fact that many digital assets will long outlive their owners, presents new challenges to traditional estate planning techniques…”

While many people do not have an estate plan in place for the disposition of their traditional assets, even fewer have a specifically designed digital estate plan to manage their digital assets upon death. By the end of 2012, almost 30 million Facebook accounts had outlived their owners, but only three million had been memorialised [4] for their deceased owners. This leaves millions of photographs, private messages, and other digital assets stored on the deceased’s Facebook account, which is inaccessible to his or her family and friends.[5] These forgotten pages become a virtual shrine, creating ‘a pixilated Dorian Gray, colored by iPhone photos, ‘pokes’, and ‘LOLs’ — possibly for an eternity.’[6] As such, the unique nature of digital assets, coupled with the fact that many digital assets will long outlive their owners, present new challenges to traditional estate planning techniques, requiring more complex planning techniques than previously used for the disposition and management of traditional estates.

What will happen if you or one of your loved ones sets up all of their accounts online but the access information is not shared? A family already grieving is subject to even further distress. The last thing you or your family need is a time of grief is the frustration and potential financial loss because proper digital estate planning was not considered especially in light of the fact that there are unique issues that plague digital assets like ownership and transferability.

LegacyTracker does provice for digital estate planning

USA Unclaimed Fund total is $58B yes $58B

Originally published by LegacyTracker Feb 13 2013

The unclaimed fund balances were recently updated as they are each year..by each State, federal and other organization as required in the United States. That gives us the most recent estimate for unclaimed funds waiting for owners to be reunited with their money:

The new estimated value for unclaimed property is …$58 Billion.

Buried US cash

Again, sad but true.

That’s a lot of money as it works out to approximately $186 per resident of the US. Imagine if that money was all put to use in the economy.

The list of assets included in what the US defines as unclaimed (or abandoned) property (or sometimes referred to as unclaimed assets or unclaimed funds) is quite wide ranging in the US and actually getting wider.

Common forms of unclaimed property in the US includes savings or chequing accounts, stocks, uncashed dividends or payroll checks, refunds, traveler’s checks, trust distributions, unredeemed money orders or gift certificate/cards (in some states), insurance payments or refunds and life insurance policies, annuities, certificates of deposit, customer overpayments, utility security deposits, mineral royalty payments, and contents of safety deposit boxes.

Here’s some further detail on this $58 Billion estimate:

·        $300 Million in pension benefits from employment owed to 38,000 individuals

·        $16 Billion worth of matured US savings bonds (more than 45 million bonds)

·        $153.3 Million in tax refunds that were not deliverable by the IRS

·        $1 Billion in unclaimed insurance policy proceeds

·        $41.7 Billion in unclaimed funds held by individual states.

This last figure of $41.7 Billion is worthy of some further explanation. .While rules vary slightly between each state, specific types of property are considered as being ‘abandoned’ or unclaimed when there has been no activity for 1-5 years. At that point, all financial organizations or any organization holding such property or funds are required to turn them over to the State Treasury.

Each state then takes over the search for owners through websites, newspaper ads, and booths at Malls and events like State fairs and Exhibitions. While searching for the owners, the State can use those assets to fund government operations but the owner’s claim to the property remains intact. Of the $58 Billion in unclaimed funds that has been reported, $41.7 Billion is being held by individual States. .

“The money belongs to the owner in perpetuity. Even if the owner dies, then their heirs could come back and claim it,” said Carolyn Atkinson, West Virginia’s deputy treasurer for unclaimed property and a past president of National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators.

More on this story:

To learn more about the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators and for a link to all State databases : 

NAUPA Website

USA Unclaimed Fund total is $58B yes $58B

Originally published by LegacyTracker Feb 13 2013

The unclaimed fund balances were recently updated as they are each year..by each State, federal and other organization as required in the United States. That gives us the most recent estimate for unclaimed funds waiting for owners to be reunited with their money:

The new estimated value for unclaimed property is …$58 Billion.

Yes, sad but true.

That’s a lot of money as it works out to approximately $186 per resident of the US. Imagine if that money was all put to use in the economy.

The list of assets included in what the US defines as unclaimed (or abandoned) property (or sometimes referred to as unclaimed assets or unclaimed funds) is quite wide ranging in the US and actually getting wider.

Common forms of unclaimed property in the US includes savings or chequing accounts, stocks, uncashed dividends or payroll checks, refunds, traveler’s checks, trust distributions, unredeemed money orders or gift certificate/cards (in some states), insurance payments or refunds and life insurance policies, annuities, certificates of deposit, customer overpayments, utility security deposits, mineral royalty payments, and contents of safety deposit boxes.

Here’s some further detail on this $58 Billion estimate:

·        $300 Million in pension benefits from employment owed to 38,000 individuals

·        $16 Billion worth of matured US savings bonds (more than 45 million bonds)

·        $153.3 Million in tax refunds that were not deliverable by the IRS

·        $1 Billion in unclaimed insurance policy proceeds

·        $41.7 Billion in unclaimed funds held by individual states.

This last figure of $41.7 Billion is worthy of some further explanation. .While rules vary slightly between each state, specific types of property are considered as being ‘abandoned’ or unclaimed when there has been no activity for 1-5 years. At that point, all financial organizations or any organization holding such property or funds are required to turn them over to the State Treasury.

Each state then takes over the search for owners through websites, newspaper ads, and booths at Malls and events like State fairs and Exhibitions. While searching for the owners, the State can use those assets to fund government operations but the owner’s claim to the property remains intact. Of the $58 Billion in unclaimed funds that has been reported, $41.7 Billion is being held by individual States. .

“The money belongs to the owner in perpetuity. Even if the owner dies, then their heirs could come back and claim it,” said Carolyn Atkinson, West Virginia’s deputy treasurer for unclaimed property and a past president of National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators.

More on this story:

To learn more about the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators and for a link to all State databases :

NAUPA Website