By Cyndy Batchelor, Financial Advisor
O’Farrell Wealth & Estate Planning | Assante Capital Management Ltd.
Many of us worry about our parents and their well-being but are uncomfortable sitting down and discussing their finances and their plans about aging and end of life. This can be a difficult conversation to have, even if you have an open relationship with your parents. It may feel intrusive and insensitive, but the “money talk” is an important discussion to have. Here are some tips to on how to start the conversation.
Start by being open with your parents, perhaps discussing your own finances and the decisions you have made regarding your financial future. You can also bring up difficult financial situations that may have happened with other family friends. Be sure to start the conversation in a private place. Discussing something that may be uncomfortable to them at a family gathering may make your parents feel as though they are being cornered. If there are several children who are concerned, determine who might be the best one to approach your parents to have this conversation instead of doing it altogether. Stress the importance of knowing and understanding their wishes for their future. As an example, whether that be staying in their home or entering a long-term care facility.
In addition to gaining an understanding on their wishes for the future, you should all discuss their financials and determine where their wealth is kept and the contact information for those institutions. This will include their banking, investments, insurances, accountant, and any other income sources. If a safety deposit box is used, have your parents add you on so that it can be accessed in case of incapacity. Otherwise, you may not be able to access important papers when you need to. Original Wills and POAs should be kept at the lawyer and stocks certificates should be deposited into an investment account to avoid high costs and long delays when an owner passes away or becomes incapable of handling their own finances. Circling back to Wills and Power of Attorneys, all adults, especially those with dependents should have a will. Additionally, a Power of attorney for Personal Care and Property should both be drawn up in Ontario to avoid a court-appointed Guardian.
Don’t forget to reach out to experts for legal and financial advice. A lawyer can advise you on elder law and estate matters and a qualified financial professional can assist you with financial planning and critical decisions with respect to making choices on investments, income, and planning. As hard of a conversation this may be, you and your parents will feel better knowing that these important issues have been addressed before they arise.
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Cyndy Batchelor is a Financial Advisor with Assante Capital Management Ltd. The opinions expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of Assante Capital Management Ltd. Please contact her at 613.258.1997 or visit ofarrellwealth.com to discuss your circumstances prior to acting on the information above. Assante Capital Management Ltd. is a member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund and the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada.