Possible Responses for Older Adult having difficulty managing finances

Managing Financial Affairs
The following list sets out  possible responses when an older adult is having difficulty managing their financial affairs, or they are being taken advantage of via financial abuse or financial exploitation.  For further explanation of some of these response, see the Public Guardian and Trustee’s publication entitled How You Can Help.

Informal Responses

Direct Deposit/PAPs

  • Set up direct deposit of all incoming pension + other $
  • Set up pre-authorized payment for regular bills
  • Consider prepaid cards with fixed limits for spending $

For more information see:

Joint Bank Accounts*

  • Set up joint bank account – for monitoring or accessing $
  • Will this include ‘right of survivorship’ or just to help out?
  • Should review dangers of joint account

For more information see:

Enduring Power of Attorney

  • Appointing trusted person to manage finances + legal affairs
  • Attorney needs to be clear about roles & responsibilities
  • Accounting to older adult + involve older adult in decisions

For more information see:

Section 7 Representation Agreement*

  • s. 7 RA can include ‘routine financial management
  • Does not include credit cards, loans, mortgages
  • unless spouse or trust/credit company, appointment of a
  • monitor is also required

For further information, see:

Revoking an EPOA or s7 RA

  • Can revoke EPOA or s7 RA if attorney or rep acting wrongly
  • Older adult must be capable
  • Otherwise might have to apply for committee order or certificate of incapability (see below) under agency responses)

For further information see:

Income Tax Clinics

  • most seniors centres have free income tax clinics
  • volunteer accountants prepare T1’s
  • filing an annual IT Return may be necessary to qualify for certain gov’t programs

For more information, see:

* CAUTION! – joint bank accounts, powers of attorney, and section 7 Representation Agreements are part of the solution, but they can also be part of the problem. They give significant powers over financial matters to someone else. An overseer or monitor, or regular accounting/reporting is a good idea with these solutions.

Administrative (agency) Solutions

Designated Agencies

  • Each of the local health authorities are assigned legal responsibility for responding to reports of abuse, neglect and self-neglect of vulnerable adults
  • Those who report are protected
  • Can result in support/assistance/restraining orders

For further information see:

Public Guardian & Trustee

  • Assessment and Investigation Services (“AIS”) division of the PG&T takes referrals and reviews allegations of financial abuse of vulnerable adults – AIS Referral Form
  • Power to revoke a POA, freeze bank accounts, prevent property transfers during an investigation
  • Authorized to collect personal information , demand accountings – can apply for committee order

For further information see:

Federal Pension Trusteeship

  • Income Security Programs will allow someone else to administer OAS/CPP/GIS ( not private pensions)
  • requires Agreement to Administer Benefits (CPP/OAS/GIS only) form (ISP3506OAS) and doctor’s ‘Certificate of Incapability OAS/CPP’ form (ISP3505OAS) – for person or agency (agency or institution form (ISP3507OAS) – – can be voluntary or involuntary
  • agencies include many churches and seniors centres including ‘The Bloom Group’ in Vancouver

For further information see:

Certificate of Incapability (‘COI’) and Statutory Property Guardianship

  • After a determination of incapacity (medical + functional assessment) a certificate of incapability issued by a medical officer
  • PGT then becomes statutory property guardian, with full authority for legal and financial affairs
  • Does not cover personal care or medical care decisions – this would be covered by a private ‘committee of the person,’ representation agreement, or temporary substitute decision maker.

For further information see:

Income Security Programs Investigations

  • Income Security Programs can investigate any misappropriation of pension fund
  • Contact 1-800-277-9914 (for allegations of fraud, abuse misuse re. CPP or OAS)

For further information see:

Community Care Licensing Office

  • Investigates complaints about the health and safety of a person in care at a licensed community care facility
  • May refer to the Patient Care Quality Office

For further information see:

Civil Law Responses

Small Claims BC

  • Sue for return of funds (up to $25,000)
  • Can include order for damages, punitive damages
  • Can include order for return of personal property

For further information see:

BC Supreme Court

  • All civil lawsuits involving remedies for $25,000 or over
  • Order for accounting by attorney under EPOA, recission of transactions by attorney/conversion of funds
  • Partition and sale of property – Partition Property Act

For further information see:

Civil Resolution Tribunal

  • Online mediation of disputes – small claims matter and strata disputes
  • Where mediation doesn’t work – can go to tribunal for ‘hearing’
  • Site includes legal information

For further information see:

Committee Orders (guardianship) under Patients Property Act

  • Declaration older adult incapable + committee appointed (two types – committee of estate (finances/legal) and committee of the person (personal and medical care) – can be same person)
  • Committee has full authority (for legal and financial affairs – nullifies any POA; for personal and medical care trumps any Representation Agreement or Advance Directive)
  • Rebuttable presumption a gift, conveyance or transfer to 3rd party by incapable adult is null and void

For further information see:

Applications under Power of Attorney Act

  • Court can order anyone to release info to the PGT to aid in an investigation
  • Court can void a POA and all actions done under it

For further information see:

Applications under Adult Guardianship Act

  • A designated agency (see above) can apply to court for a ‘support and assistance’ order based on a support and assistance plan
  • Court can make a support order under Part 7 of the Family Law Act, order no contact or association with the adult or the adult’s financial affairs
  • Can order services to ensure that the adult’s financial affairs are properly managed and protected

For further information see:

Criminal Law Responses

Police Lay Charges

  • Theft, conversion, embezzlement
  • Fraud, forgery, larceny
  • Criminal exploitation

For further information see:

Specific Offences Relating to EPOAs

  • Specific provisions in the Criminal Code of Canada regarding abuses by trustees and attorneys under a POA
  • May include asset freezes
  • Could include restitution orders (see below)

For further information see:

Private Prosecutions

  • When police say this is a “civil matter” or too little $ involved
  • Older adult or agent can ‘lay an information’ before a JP (s 504 + 507.1 of Criminal Code)
  • Will have to conduct own prosecution if summary offence matter

For further information see:

Restitution Orders

  • Criminal court judge orders financial compensation to victim from convicted offender
  • Must be requested in Victim Impact Statement or in letter to Crown + copies of docs
  • Can be condition of probation , or stand-alone order enforceable in civil court

For further information see:

Victim Services BC

  • Connect victims of crime to community, social, health, justice and government resources, including counselling resources.
  • Provides info on the justice system, relevant federal and provincial legislation and programs, resources as needed.

For further information see:

Enhanced Sentencing – Elder Abuse

  • Judges take into account many factors when determining sentence
  • One of the ‘aggravating circumstances’ a Judge can take into account is “evidence that the offence had a significant impact on the victim, considering their age and other personal circumstances, including their health and financial situation”
  • While this was called the “elder abuse” amendment to the Criminal Code, there is no particular age specified, and there is no specific crime of “elder abuse”

For further information, see: