British Columbians currently saving for a down payment may have more money than they thought.

That’s because there’s more than $159 million sitting in dormant accounts in the province, waiting to be claimed, including $1.9 million in unclaimed estate.

The figures from the B.C. Unclaimed Property Society (BCUPS) show that millions of dollars are languishing in inactive credit union accounts, as well as unpaid wages, overpayments to debt collectors, proceeds from courts, pension funds, estates and real estate deposits.

"Accounts are forgotten and become dormant for a number of reasons," says Alena Levitz, Executive Director of the B.C. Unclaimed Property Society. "If you've moved around a lot, chances are you've become separated from some money that belongs to you. You could have left some funds in a credit union account you forgot to close. Another common scenario is when an employee leaves a place of employment, moves away and the employer can't locate them to give them their final pay."

Although most unclaimed accounts in BCUPS' database amount to between $300 to $500, the single largest unclaimed property payout was $357,262 made in 2011.

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