Money Management

Helping Aging Parents with Finances

5 Ways to Reduce Resistance

Managing financial matters is an important part of caring for an older adult.

But it can be tough to convince someone that they need help, even if all the signs are there.

For example, if they’re forgetting to pay bills, making unwise purchases, or getting confused about their accounts, it’s probably time to step in.

But even if they’re having problems, many people are still resistant to having someone get involved in their finances.

To reduce defensiveness, we share 5 essential tips for helping aging parents with finances.

We also suggest specific tasks to focus on to make the new responsibility a little less overwhelming.

  1. Work with them and respect their decisions

If your older adult is still able to manage their finances fairly well, be respectful of their decisions and work with them instead of taking over.

They’ll (hopefully) appreciate your help in executing details like paying the bills every month. And typically, they’ll be more likely to accept additional help when they realize you’re not trying to take away their control.

If your older adult has dementia or a cognitive impairment, you may need to take over and make decisions on their behalf.

But it’s still kinder to make them feel included and in control, even if they can’t manage things on their own anymore.

Work with other family members to make sure everyone is on the same page and they understand that you’re looking out for your older adult’s best interests.

  1. Locate important documents

It’s critical to know where the important financial documents are so you can locate them in an emergency or if your older adult becomes incapacitated.

This allows you to protect your older adult’s assets when they’re not able to take care of things themselves.

Your older adult may be concerned that you’ll use these documents before you have to, so be sure to reassure them that you’ll only use the information in an emergency or when they’re not able to.

Important documents typically include: 

  • Bank and investment statements
  • Wills
  • Insurance policies
  • Pension records
  • Home mortgage or reverse mortgage
  • Car title
  • CPP and OAS payments
  • Safe deposit boxes
  1. Get access to financial accounts

Getting access to your older adult’s bank accounts requires advance planning and likely, some specific paperwork.

Banks and other financial institutions have strict rules about who can access accounts. And sometimes, they require their own documents to be completed even if you already have a Power of Attorney.

To write cheques or withdraw money from your older adult’s accounts, you could become authorized to conduct transactions.

To get access to a safe deposit box, your older adult can authorize a “deputy” or “agent.”

Important: Before signing paperwork or getting joint access to any accounts, consulting with a fiduciary, elder law attorney, financial planner, or other qualified professional is always recommended to avoid unintended consequences.

  1. Keep family informed

Your older adult should stay involved in their financial decisions as long as they can.

But if that’s not possible and you need to take full responsibility, it’s wise to share information with other family members or involve them in the process.

This helps avoid conflicts later, like one person accusing another of inappropriately spending the older adult’s money behind the family’s back.

Holding family meetings to discuss finances is also a good way to keep everyone up to date on spending and income.

It’s also smart to keep a record of significant discussions, decisions, and actions in case there are disputes in the future.

  1. Prepare for the future

If your older adult doesn’t already have a will or estate plan, now is the time to convince them to meet with a lawyer and start the process.

These key legal documents are important because they affect how their assets are distributed when they pass away.

It’s also important to complete other essential legal documents like a Power of Attorney and living will. This allows you to make decisions and take action quickly during a health crisis.  The “living will” has different names depending on the province – Power of Attorney for Health Decisions, personal directive, or healthcare directive.

Need help with your own or your elderly family members financial matters? 

Get in touch with Financial Concierge Inc today to book your complimentary initial consultation.

Posted by Admin-FCI in Money Management

Spot the Scam

Check out this article that Jill Chambers with Finiancail Concierge Inc was interviewed in for Dementia Connection, The Nature of the Scam

Spot the Scam with Jill Chambers

Posted by Admin-FCI in Money Management

TELUS Wise Seniors

March is Fraud Prevention Month

TELUS Wise offers free interactive/informative workshops and content to help Canadians of all ages have a positive digital experience. Topics include protecting your online security, privacy, and reputation, rising above cyberbullying, and using technology responsibly.

https://wise.telus.com/en/wiseseniors1/

This guide has been created for Canadian seniors who are already using the Internet and want to learn more about participating in our digital society safely. This guide can be used as a personal reference and is also used as a workbook for participants of TELUS Wise® seniors’ workshops. If you are interested in booking a TELUS Wise seniors workshop for your community group please contact wise@telus.com. All elements of the program are free-of charge and available to all Canadians. For additional resources, including an electronic copy of this guide, please visit telus.com/wise. Also if you have any questions don’t hesitate to email wise@telus.com.

Posted by Admin-FCI in Money Management, 0 comments

What is a Personal Representative?

When ONE is Better than TWO

A more common name for what we used to call an “Executor” of a Will is now a “Personal Representative”. In multi-child families, many parents may appoint two (or possibly all) of their children as the Personal Representatives of their Will. They do this perhaps to not show favoritism towards one child or another or maybe their thought is that the Personal Representative’s role would be less of a burden if more than one of their children was named to that role. This is often a concern if the named Personal Representatives live a great distance from the each other or if there are communication difficulties among any of them.

The wording of the Personal Representative’s appointment is best stated as something like “I appoint my son Bob to by my Personal Representative but if he is unable or unwilling, then I appoint my daughter Mary to be my Personal Representative”. The actual wording should ideally be suggested/prepared by the parents’ lawyer who may have prepared their Will and the appointment wording may vary from that used in this example. It is best to name a sole Personal Representative but to also include verbiage that permits the opportunity for others (if applicable) to optionally assist the named sole Personal Representative where needed and for them to work under the direction of the sole Personal Representative.

Why only one Personal Representative? A Personal Representative has “complete and full authority” over all matters of the estate. The major concern with two or more Personal Representatives to a Will means that all must act together on all aspects of decision-making, sharing of information, Probate issues, documentation, insurance, banking, investment and legal matters. We can easily imagine that multiple Personal Representatives could easily become a major concern and incur more than normal charges, delays, confusion and misinterpretation to the activities of the role. Settling an estate can be an emotionally charged and stressful exercise even for those who may be fully prepared to do the work.

When asked if you agree to be named as a Personal Representative to a Will, confirm whether you are the sole Personal Representative before giving your consent to the owner (testator) of the Will. If there are Co-Personal Representatives, it is best to quickly confirm that the named Personal Representatives agree that they can work together. Ideally one of them would agree, with the consent of the others, as the lead.

If there is any reason to believe that any of the Co-Personal Representatives might have communications difficulties with the others for any reason, the named Personal Representative should discuss his or her concerns with the other parties and recommend that only he or she manage the Estate. There may be some activities that the other parties can do under direction of the named Personal Representative who would direct their capacity to assist.

In the case where all parties named as Co-Personal Representatives to a Will agree that only one of them should act as Personal Representative, they should submit a Renunciation of Executorship form that can be drawn up by the lawyer for the estate. As is obvious from this discussion, it is always best to confirm the nature of the appointment of the Personal Representative with the Testator before providing your agreement and consent to act as their Personal Representative.

If you are asked to be a Personal Representative and accept the responsibility, it is important to know how the Will describes your role. Based upon the above, and your knowledge of any other parties named, you may recommend to the testator that he or she make any necessary changes to it as per the above discussion and communicate their decision to any others (e.g. family members) who may feel they too should have a role. This would save you, as the Personal Representative, much grief when the time comes for you to step in and manage the final Estate. During the execution of your duties, keeping beneficiaries informed of your progress will provide a more positive outcome for all involved.

Posted by Admin-FCI in Money Management, 0 comments