Here’s what to do when you take over a parent’s finances
According to Statistics Canada, 17 percent of Canadians are over 65, and 90 percent agree it’s important to discuss finances with their parents. However, over 60 percent hadn’t had a conversation on what would happen in the event of the death of a parent or if they were otherwise unable to handle their finances themselves due to long term illness or incapacitation. The issue is further complicated by the fact that few people are well versed in the finer points of personal finance. This makes estate planning – i.e. having that discussion and making plans before the worst happens – even more important.
- The first thing you should do with your parent’s investments is take inventory of what they have in the first place.
- Take a close look at your parent’s income and expenses to make sure you know how they are funding their lifestyle and whether it is sustainable.
- Ensure that your parent’s tax returns are up to date, as some seniors may be entitled to government benefits and others may owe money on their taxes since neither investment income nor minimum withdrawals from a RRIF are required to have tax withheld at source.
“I think it is important for children to try to talk to their senior parents about money, even if it is short, sweet and high-level.”
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