In some court cases, a judge will order money to be paid into the court. Foreclosure and debt cases are two examples where money gets paid into courts. Another type of court fund is a restitution payment. Restitution is payment to benefit a victim for an injury or loss. Restitution may be paid into court as part of the resolution of a criminal case.
Sometimes no one follows up with the court to have the money paid out, or there is money left over after one person receives their share. After five years, that money is considered unclaimed and the courts transfer it to BC Unclaimed.
What is BC Unclaimed’s role in handling unclaimed court funds?
When the court transfers this money to BC Unclaimed, we add all the people or organizations named in the court case to our searchable database. We try to find the people involved and we send out letters to notify them that BC Unclaimed is holding money they may be entitled to.
We don’t decide who is entitled to money from a court case. Only the court can tell us who is entitled to the funds. We hold the money on behalf of the court and rightful owner. If you believe you are the rightful owner, you must get a court order directing BC Unclaimed to pay you the funds. We will then pay funds out as directed by the court.
The rightful owner needs to make an application to the court to have this order issued. BC Unclaimed does not charge any fees, but an owner may incur court or legal fees.
You have a court order. How do you claim court funds from BC Unclaimed?
Send us the following:
A certified copy of the court order that directs BC Unclaimed to pay this balance to you, and
proof of your identity (i.e. two pieces of your government-issued ID).
If there is interest included in the balance, you will also need to provide proof of your SIN (e.g. SIN card, CRA document citing your SIN) so that BC Unclaimed can issue a T5 slip along with the cheque.
If the court order directs BC Unclaimed to release the money to a business, we require a certified copy of the order and a copy of the company’s current business license as proof of identity.
If there is interest included in the balance, you also need to provide proof of your business’ CRA tax number so that BC Unclaimed can issue a T5 slip along with the cheque.
What is BC Unclaimed’s role in handling unclaimed restitution payments?
If money is paid into court as restitution, BC Unclaimed will advise you by letter and no additional court order is required.
If BC Unclaimed has told you the money is a restitution payment, please use our website to upload a letter explaining why you are the person entitled to the restitution (i.e. what happened) and a copy of two pieces of your government-issued ID.
Only the court can tell BC Unclaimed who is entitled to the money they transferred to us. Other people involved in the court action may also have a right to the money. You need to get a court order because we don’t know if it is your money until the court tells us.
The cost to get your court order will depend on the level of court involved (i.e. Provincial or Supreme Court) and the circumstances of your case.
You need to send a certified copy of the court order to our office by mail. Our mailing address is:
PO Box 18519
West Georgia RPO
Vancouver BC V6Z 0B3
A certified copy of a court order is the copy stamped and signed by the court registry verifying the order’s legitimacy.
You need to mail us this version, we can’t accept a photocopy or scanned copy of the order.
Receiving a letter from BC Unclaimed about money from a court case doesn’t necessarily mean that the money is yours.
If you recall being involved in the court case and believe you are entitled to the balance, follow the instructions in the letter to obtain a court order.
If you don’t remember being involved in the court case, it’s possible you received the letter because you have the same name as someone involved in the case. If you want to get more details about the case to be sure, you can contact the court registry to obtain a copy of the court file.
Being someone’s relative doesn’t automatically make you entitled to claim their money. After someone passes away their lawful representative (i.e. executor or court-appointed administrator) is the person responsible for making a claim to their assets. If you know who the representative is, you can send them instructions to initiate a claim on behalf of your relative’s estate, or they can contact us directly.
Potentially. BC Unclaimed can’t advise what the court will require you to provide to prove your company is owed money from the court case. However, if an order is issued stating that BC Unclaimed has to pay a company, the company needs to provide us with proof that it is currently an active company (e.g. a copy of its current business license) before payment can be issued.
If you are thinking about making a claim to funds owed to your dissolved company, you should factor the cost of restoring the company into the costs of getting the court order.
BC Unclaimed’s database holds funds as far back as the 1850s. Understandably, sometimes court registries no longer have records of these old cases.
If the court registry can’t find a record of the case you want to claim funds from, it is up to you to provide the court with documents from your own records to include in your application.
BC Unclaimed cannot provide you with any legal advice. However, we understand how difficult the court system can be to navigate on your own and we’ve put together a list of resources below to help you.
Check out these helpful resources for dealing with the courts.