Unclaimed Trust Funds
Sometimes a lawyer is unable to locate a client, so trust money remains unclaimed. The lawyer will try to track down the rightful owners of funds left behind. However, because of moves, name changes, deaths and other reasons, it is sometimes not possible to locate people to whom the money should be returned.
What happens to unclaimed trust funds
A lawyer who has held funds in a trust account on behalf of a person who cannot be located for two years may pay the money to the Law Society.
The Law Society will try to find the owner of the funds or his or her heirs.
If the owner cannot be found within five years, the money will be paid to the Law Foundation of British Columbia (a non-profit organization that provides funding for legal aid, legal education, law libraries and similar programs) with the understanding that all valid claims for return of trust money will be honoured. (Legal Profession Act, s. 34)
There is no time limit to applying for the return of unclaimed trust funds.
How to apply for unclaimed trust funds
Step 1 Contact the lawyer
Step 2 Contact the Law Society if your money has been unclaimed for more than two years or you cannot locate the lawyer. You will need documents proving your identity and supporting your claim. If you are an heir or are making a claim in a representative capacity, you will need appropriate documentation of your status or authority.