Helping Ailing Parents with Their Finances

Posted 02 Apr 2015 by Melissa Allan

Although your most important concern at this point is the illness of your parent and hopefully seeing them returned to health, it is still important to appreciate the financial implications of your parent’s death. One of the main concerns of people with ailing parents is to ensure that there is enough money to pay for the care that they need. Basic essential medical expenses are covered by government plans, additional expenses such as in-home or residential care can be substantial. It’s often very overwhelming for the children and something that many of us have faced already or will likely face in the future. We recommend speaking with your parents now, while they are healthy and figuring out how you’re going to deal with this when the time comes.

Some of the questions you need to ask are:

  • Are they able to self fund?
  • Do they have Government pensions and /or Insurance?
  • Do you know where to find everything?
  • Do they have a will, Power of Attorney, Personal Care Directive?

If not, we recommend you work with them to get one ASAP. If they have these documents and they are very outdated, it wouldn’t hurt to have a lawyer update these documents as well. Keep in mind, every province has slightly different laws so a will taken out in Ontario 30 years ago may not be valid in Nova Scotia, etc. You want to ensure the Will is valid, and well structured and your parents wishes are met.

Other considerations are tax issues. If your parents are legally capable, they should fill out a tax form T1013 appointing someone to act on their behalf whether it’s a loved one or their tax provider. Otherwise, a power of attorney is required to inquire on anything.

We see people faced with illness every day, some have had these discussions with their family and some haven’t. It’s never an easy discussion but it’s inevitable that it’s a discussion you need to have!