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Avoid abuse with safeguards for personal planning

Written by Joanne on June 15, 2015

June 15 is elder abuse awareness day. It seems like a good time to consider safeguards for personal planning.

We are all going to die and many of us will need some assistance with our affairs prior to death—due to illness, injury, aging or disability.

How can we protect ourselves, when arranging for others to help us?

  1. Learn about the legal documents available for personal planning and which one fits your situation.
  2. Appoint more than one person and talk with them about working together as a team. Go over their roles—see below for links. Discuss your wishes and values with them—use theValues & Discussion Guide developed through a national senior’s project.
  3. Identify others who could be a support and guide to those you appointed. Introduce them to those you appointed, provide contact lists for each.
  4. Know how to revoke (cancel) your document if you need to. Nidus has revocation forms you can use. See below for links.
  5. Keep in contact with those you appointed about your health and life events so they will be informed if they have to act. You can ask them to accompany you to meetings with your financial advisor, bank manager, doctor and others or call them with an update after your meeting. Maintaining contact is a way to develop your relationship—it can also expose misunderstandings that you can address while capable.

What can third parties do to encourage and support best practices?

We need to be able to count on financial institutions to do their part. This includes knowing the legislation within the jurisdiction they operate.

“CIBC told me (the representative) that a Representation Agreement Section 7 for financial and legal affairs is not a valid document and they offered to shred it. Is this true? We followed the instructions for making it…” [Email June 11, 2015]

This quote is the most recent example and the most common complaint we receive about third parties. Banks and credit unions promote financial planning but they make it difficult. We need them to help promote safe and effective practices.

Caregivers/representatives are already stretched to the limit trying to maintain the quality-of-life for a spouse, family or friend. This means making sure bills are paid, funds are available for health and personal care needs, entitlements are applied for, insurance is paid up and more.

  • Why are banks and credit unions refusing to honour Representation Agreements for financial and legal affairs?
  • Why do financial institutions continue to encourage single seniors to set up joint accounts with family members even though joint accounts have no safeguards?
  • Why do financial institutions continue to insist customers/members use their in-house Power of Attorney forms? These internal documents offer no benefit outside the institution and therefore are of no help to customers/members with planning.

Representation Agreements have many more safeguards than Powers of Attorney. The RA7 is a standardized document unlike the Enduring Power of Attorney, which can be highly variable given the numerous options available since amendments came into effect on September 1, 2011.

RESOURCES (Also find under Information tab blue menu bar)

Role of Representative and Role of Monitor in a Representation Agreement

Role of Attorney in an Enduring Power of Attorney

Revoke a Representation Agreement

Revoke an Enduring Power of Attorney

EPA vs RA7 chart

RESOURCES FOR PROFESSIONALS & INSTITUTIONS

Definition of Routine Management of Financial Affairs

Detailed Comparison: RA7 or EPA for Financial and Legal Affairs


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