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Managing the finances of the person I am caring for

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At some point, you will likely have a role in managing the personal finances of a person you are caring for.

What should I expect when sharing a joint account? What are the different payment methods? When should a power of attorney be used? There are tools and resources to help you and the person you are caring for become more informed about the process.

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Questions to ask

It’s important to understand the personal financial situation of the person you are caring for. By asking the right questions, you can identify the issues surrounding financial management:

  • What is the extent of the physical disability of the person I am caring for?
  • Do they have any memory or attention problems?
  • Are still able to manage their finances, or partially manage their finances?
  • Are they receiving monies they are entitled to?
  • Are they experiencing any financial difficulty?
  • Have I or the person I am caring for been a victim of financial exploitation or fraud?
  • What does “managing” mean to me?
  • Does the financial management of the person I am caring for involve measures such as a power of attorney, a mandate of protection, an assistance measure, or an involuntary separation?

Take stock of the situation

Is the person I am caring for receiving monies they are entitled to?

What about you? Managing the personal finances of someone you care for involves taking a look at your own personal finances. Take stock of:

Financial difficulties

When you take stock, you notice a precarious financial situation. The person you are caring for asks questions about bankruptcy. You have concerns about excessive credit use. You are aware of repeated calls from collection agencies. You fear financial abuse and mistreatment.

Suggest that the person you are caring for contact the local Association coopérative d’économie familiale (ACEF). ACEFs are not-for-profit community organizations that deal with budgeting, debt and consumer issues.

The ability of the person you care for to manage their finances

Have you noticed a deterioration in the mental or physical faculties of the person you are caring for? Are they still able to express their wishes and make informed decisions? Are you concerned about their potential incapacity?

Get help in assessing whether the person you are caring for is capable of managing their finances:

  • A person is declared incompetent when they are unable to care for themselves or administer their property;
  • You will need the help of professionals (doctor, social worker) who can conduct a medical and psychosocial assessment;
  • The results will allow you to know if it is time to consider opening a protection plan, a protection or assistance mandate;
  • If there is incapacity, are you willing and able to manage the finances of the person you are caring for?

It can be uncomfortable to talk about fraud or financial abuse, or more generally about difficulties with the finances of someone in your care.

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