Sunday, January 31, 2021

Manitoba Law Reform Commission Final Report on What To Do About Unclaimed Accounts

The Manitoba Law Reform Commission has released its final report on Abandoned Accounts and Missing Money: Establishing a Process for Unclaimed Intangible Personal Property.

The report makes recommendations about how to handle abandoned or forgotten personal property such as credit balances, insurance policies, bonds or pension plans. This often happens when a person dies intestate:

"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 holders and the government, the legislation provides no guidance for an individual to find out if they are the rightful owner and to apply to claim the money if they establish that 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 has considered 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 full version of this Act can be found at Appendix B."

"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, Ontario and New Brunswick, have introduced changes to modernize and improve legislation related to property that vests in the Crown."

The Commission is recommending that Manitoba enact legislation similar to other provinces.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:10 pm


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