Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Manitoba Law Reform Commission Consultation on Abandoned Accounts and Missing Money: Establishing a Process for Unclaimed Intangible Personal Property

The Manitoba Law Reform Commission has published a consultation report entitled Abandoned Accounts and Missing Money: Establishing a Process for Unclaimed Intangible Personal Property.

It looks at what happens to unclaimed personal property in Manitoba, such as abandoned or forgotten credit balances, insurance policies, bonds or pension plans:
"In Manitoba there is no obligation on the part of many property holders, such as credit unions and insurance policy holders, to report unclaimed personal property to the provincial government. Even where unclaimed personal property is remitted to the government the legislation provides no guidance for an individual to find out if they are the rightful owner. Other Canadian jurisdictions have enacted legislation to address unclaimed property so that money can end up in the hands of rightful owners. In light of reforms in other Canadian jurisdictions, the Commission asks the question: Should Manitoba adopt a process for unclaimed intangible personal property? If so, what elements would the legislation need to address?"

"This project involves two distinct, yet related, issues: escheats and unclaimed property. While distinct legal concepts, in both cases the property vests in the Crown by operation of law. In Manitoba, both these situations are addressed in the same piece of legislation, The Escheats Act. The Commission has learned that the process for administering escheats and unclaimed property is cumbersome for the government and impractical for individuals seeking to claim vacant or unclaimed property. Other jurisdictions, such as British Columbia, Alberta, Quebec, and Ontario, have introduced changes to modernize and improve legislation related to property that vests in the Crown."

"This Consultation Report invites readers to provide their comments on ten issues for discussion. The issues identified in this report require input from interested organizations and individuals so that the Commission can craft recommendations that will be practical and meaningful to those affected by any contemplated changes to the legislation.
Chapter 2 provides background on the legal origins of escheats and vacant property and describes the current law and procedure in Manitoba. Chapter 3 explores recent legislative reforms in other jurisdictions. Chapter 4 discusses possible areas of reform to Manitoba’s legal framework for escheats and unclaimed property, touching on important considerations should the  government wish to introduce a regime for unclaimed property."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:34 pm


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