Supporting your parent’s legacy

Canada Life - May 15, 2022
If you find this is a dialogue your parents are avoiding, you can take the lead in initiating it
Adult daughter talking to her mother about her financial legacy.

One crucial conversation you're likely to have with your parents at some point is surrounding their legacy, or rather what happens to it after their death, is undoubtedly going to be one of the most crucial ones. If you find this is a dialogue your parents are avoiding, you can take the lead in initiating it. Here are a few suggestions:

1. Take advantage of the time you have 

You’re on the right track by starting to think about this now, as opposed to reacting when an emergency strikes. By taking the time to think through this, you’re helping your parents put the right plans in place to protect what matters the most to them. For instance, you might find out that your parents are passionate about sharing their legacy with a charity they’re involved with or want to support. 

2. Get organized and help ensure your parents’ wishes are maintained 

Help your parents understand the value of organizing their legacy early on to make sure their wishes are understood and carried out for them. A good step is to collect all the necessary documents and agreements and store them in one secure spot. 

Information you need to get organized

  • Sources of income (shares, shares in a business, mutual funds, segregated fund policies, annuities, pensions, etc.) 
  • Insurance policies 
  • Banking information 
  • Medical history 
  • Will/power of attorney information 
  • Mortgage 
  • Debts (credit cards, etc.) 
  • Personal obligations (supporting a family member, etc.) 
  • Ongoing expenditures (charitable donations, memberships, etc.) 

“I’m my parents’ executor.” What does that mean? 

Being an executor (or liquidator in Quebec) is a complex job that can include some risk. The role of an executor is to gather the estate assets, pay debts, and divide what remains of the estate among the chosen recipients and loved ones. Executor duties can last for months, even years, particularly in cases of trusts or more complicated estate or family situations. 

3. Involve a neutral party

If your parents aren’t comfortable talking to you about this, suggest they meet with a lawyer, financial planner or some other professional. Most likely, talking to these professionals will help encourage your parents to share important financial information with you.

You don’t have to do this alone. I’m here to help you start the estate protection conversation with your parents. Get in touch with me to see how you can plan now so you can help your parents secure their legacy.