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Documents and Lists – Why should I prepare them and keep them up to date?

May 11, 2011 - 0 comments

A recent blog dealt with the importance of both spouses being involved in family finances. Whether married or not, another important aspect of your financial life is to add legal protection for those unexpected things life throws our way.

Take the case of the widowed client who was forced to return home in the middle of vacation because of ill health.  Testing revealed a inoperable cancerous tumour. It became necessary for the client’s attorney, named in her Power of Attorney document, to take over her financial affairs.

During the ensuing weeks, some of the things the attorney had to determine included:

  • What bank accounts were held with what banks
  • What bills had to be paid
  • What sources of income the client had –pensions, CPP, OAS
  • What investments were available to supplement the client’s needs

We had a fairly good idea of most of this information, and, in this case, the client was cognitive so able to fill in the blanks and point the attorney in the right direction. (This also meant that the client’s attorney for personal care did not have to assume a decision-making role.)  What would have happened if she was not? 

To implement the attorney appointment, it was necessary to deliver and/or sign documents with various institutions – a time consuming exercise.

All of this to emphasize the importance of not only having the documents in place, but also having lists of assets, bank accounts, insurance policies, and other pertinent financial details. This will enable the individuals you appoint to effectively do the job you have asked of them - a job that is not necessarily an easy one.

All was falling into place, when the client took a turn for the worse and succumbed to the cancer. The POA is no longer in force, and the executor named in the client’s will now takes over. They happen to be the same individual, which provides a head-start for the estate administration.

At PWL, our objective is to get to know our clients’ financial affairs well enough to be able to assist when life throws those curve balls.

By: Kathleen Clough with 0 comments.
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