Managing someone else's money: Your toolkit

Checklist

So, you’ve agreed to manage someone else’s financial affairs. You may be an attorney under a power of attorney or a representative under a standard representation agreement. You’re taking on a commendable but potentially onerous and thankless job. We have tools designed to help you in your role.

Your toolkit

New attorney or representative checklist

When you start to act as an attorney or representative, here are the first things you should do.

  • Review the legal document. Understand when it takes effect and what powers it gives you. Are there multiple attorneys or representatives? Does it provide for you to be paid?

  • Learn about your legal responsibilities and key duties. For attorneys, see our pages about making a decision for someone else.

  • Discuss your role with the adult. Talk with the adult about your role. Be clear on when you will start acting as their attorney or representative. Discuss how you’ll support them in making decisions. Review how you’ll keep records.

  • Deliver copies of the legal document. Contact any banks, businesses, or people that the adult deals with and give them copies of the power of attorney or representation agreement. Never give out the original. (If required, a lawyer or notary public can certify a copy as a true copy of the original document.)   

  • Make a list of the adult’s property and liabilities. Make an inventory of the adult’s property and liabilities as of the date when you start to act on their behalf. Include an estimate of the value of the property and liabilities. See below for details.

  • Make a budget. Prepare a budget of the adult’s income and expenses. See below for details.

  • Set up record keeping. Set up a filing system for the records you will keep. See below for details.

  • Review the adult’s insurance. Make sure the adult’s property is adequately insured.

Download a checklist that you can mark off as you complete these tasks. 

Inventory

Keep a current list of the adult’s property and liabilities. The list should include an estimate of the value of the property and liabilities, if it’s reasonable to do so.

Your list of property and money might include:

  • personal property such as furniture, appliances, electronics, clothing, jewelry, collectibles and so on

  • real property

  • cars and other vehicles

  • chequing and savings accounts

  • cash

  • investments such as any guaranteed investment certificates (GICs), stocks, bonds, registered retirement savings plans (RRSPs), and registered retirement income funds (RRIFs)

  • insurance policies

  • trusts for which the adult is a beneficiary

As well, the list should include liabilities such as any mortgage, loans, unpaid credit cards bills, lines of credit and so on.

You can download a template for an inventory from our website.

Here is an example of an inventory. 

FurnitureItemEstimated valueNotes
Furniture
Living roomCouch$800Bought in 2015 from IKEA
Living roomChair$400Bought in 2012 from IKEA
............
Total est. value of furniture$6,500
Transportation
GarageCar$10,0002012 Toyota Corolla
GarageBicycle$5002012 Norco
Total est. value of vehicles$10,500
............

Budget

You should have a budget that lists sources of income and expenses for the adult. This isn’t specifically required under the law, but will help you keep track of spending. 

You can download a budget template from our website.

Here is an example of a budget. 

AreaItemAmount (monthly)
Expenses
HousingMortgage or rent$750
Electricity$100
Gas$50
Insurance$50
Maintenance$50
Total expenses for housing$1,000
TransportationCar loan payment$200
Car insurance payment$125
Gas$75
Bus pass$100
Total expenses value for transportation$500
.........
Total expenses$2,000
Income
PensionsOld Age Security (OAS)$850
Canada Pension Plan (CPP)$650
Total income from pensions$1,500
OtherRental income$200
RRSP interest income$300
Total income from other$500
Total income$2,000

Filing system

Set up a filing system for all the records you’ll keep.

You can set up a file folder for the monthly bank records and attached reconciliations. If there are reports for investments, put these into file folders. You will also need to prepare, file and keep a copy of annual income tax returns. You might set up one file folder for each year’s worth of income tax documentation.

For the other important documents, the adult may already have a filing system. If not, you could use a filing system with file folders, a binder with expanding sheet protector dividers, or even manila envelopes.

One option that can work well is an expanding poly file folder with multiple pockets to keep important documents all in one place, protected from the elements.

You can buy a 26-pocket poly file folder that will accommodate 26 important types of documents in the five categories of the PFILE filing system: Personal, Financial, Insurance, Legal, and Estate & Advance Planning.

PFILE System
IPersonal
1Birth Certificate / Adoption Papers
2Education / Military Service
3Employment History / Resume or CV
4Prenuptial Agreement / Marriage Licence / Divorce / Separation Agreement
5Family History
6Religious Documents
7Medical History / List of Doctors / Prescriptions / Health Records
IIFinancial
8List of Bank Accounts / Bank Statements / Safety Deposit Box
9Credit Cards / Debit Cards
10Income Tax Returns / Property Tax Statements
11Certificates of Deposits / Savings Bonds / Mutual Funds / Stocks
12RRSPs / RRIFs / LIFs-RLIFs / LIOs / Annuities & TCA 90
13Old Age Security (OAS) / Canada Pension Plan (CPP) / Other Income
IIIInsurance
14Fire (Property) Insurance
15Auto Insurance
16Life Insurance
17Disability / Medical / Dental Insurance
IVLegal
18Deed to House / Strata / Cottage or Lease
19Mortgages / Loan Agreements
20Passport / Citizenship Papers
21Vehicle Title / Registration
22Corporation / Partnership Documents
VEstate & Advance Planning
23Power of Attorney
24Representation Agreement / Advance Directives
25Wills / Wills Registry Information / Codicils / Letter of Instructions to Executor
26Trust Documents

 Financial management software

There are software programs that can help with managing personal funds. Perhaps the best known is Quicken from Intuit. A free online service for personal finances is Mint, also from Intuit. These services help you set budgets, track spending and pay bills. They usually include a feature to download and reconcile bank account records with your own records. 

With financial management software, it is also much easier to provide any reports requested by the adult or others.

  • This information applies to British Columbia, Canada
  • Reviewed for legal accuracy in April 2019
  • Time to read: 5 minutes

Reviewed for legal accuracy by

Kevin Smith, Retired lawyer and consultant

Kevin Smith

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