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.
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.
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
cars and other vehicles
chequing and savings accounts
investments such as any guaranteed investment certificates (GICs), stocks, bonds, registered retirement savings plans (RRSPs), and registered retirement income funds (RRIFs)
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.
|Living room||Couch||$800||Bought in 2015 from IKEA|
|Living room||Chair||$400||Bought in 2012 from IKEA|
|Total est. value of furniture||$6,500|
|Garage||Car||$10,000||2012 Toyota Corolla|
|Total est. value of vehicles||$10,500|
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.
|Housing||Mortgage or rent||$750|
|Total expenses for housing||$1,000|
|Transportation||Car loan payment||$200|
|Car insurance payment||$125|
|Total expenses value for transportation||$500|
|Pensions||Old Age Security (OAS)||$850|
|Canada Pension Plan (CPP)||$650|
|Total income from pensions||$1,500|
|RRSP interest income||$300|
|Total income from other||$500|
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.
|1||Birth Certificate / Adoption Papers|
|2||Education / Military Service|
|3||Employment History / Resume or CV|
|4||Prenuptial Agreement / Marriage Licence / Divorce / Separation Agreement|
|7||Medical History / List of Doctors / Prescriptions / Health Records|
|8||List of Bank Accounts / Bank Statements / Safety Deposit Box|
|9||Credit Cards / Debit Cards|
|10||Income Tax Returns / Property Tax Statements|
|11||Certificates of Deposits / Savings Bonds / Mutual Funds / Stocks|
|12||RRSPs / RRIFs / LIFs-RLIFs / LIOs / Annuities & TCA 90|
|13||Old Age Security (OAS) / Canada Pension Plan (CPP) / Other Income|
|14||Fire (Property) Insurance|
|17||Disability / Medical / Dental Insurance|
|18||Deed to House / Strata / Cottage or Lease|
|19||Mortgages / Loan Agreements|
|20||Passport / Citizenship Papers|
|21||Vehicle Title / Registration|
|22||Corporation / Partnership Documents|
|V||Estate & Advance Planning|
|23||Power of Attorney|
|24||Representation Agreement / Advance Directives|
|25||Wills / Wills Registry Information / Codicils / Letter of Instructions to Executor|
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.