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Independent Widow

Dear Hannah,

I am a financially independent widow in my late 70’s. I enjoy good health and a sharp mind. I visit with friends, go to JCC exercise classes, and take care of my little dog Yoffi. My son and daughter want me to put my assets in their names so that they can manage my finances. They say that at my age, I could be vulnerable to scams and frauds. I think they are concerned about a new relationship I have with a man I met recently. What do you think of their idea? A counsellor, or someone especially trained in encouraging and assisting you to sort through the stuff may be the way to go. There are people in Vancouver that can help you not only remove the stuff, but also to rebuild your life so that it includes friends and activities that are nurturing and fulfilling.

Dear “Independent Widow”,

NOT SO FAST! As a resident of BC, you and your lawyer in BC should have drawn up and notarized a Last Will, an Enduring Power of Attorney, a Representation Agreement and a Living Will. Documents drawn up in another province are not good enough, they are more easily contested. Invest the time and money in doing it right. Creating these documents will take some hard thinking on your part and some good advice from your lawyer. Having completed these tasks, we can discuss the idea of your children controlling your financial affairs.

Given the short description of yourself, it sounds like you are in control of your life and your finances. I suspect that your children are indeed worried about your new relationship and its financial repercussions. As long as you and your new friend each live in your own apartments, and you do not marry, the legal status quo remains. I presume you have a financial advisor; why not discuss the matter with him as to the possible negative implications of the new relationship. For the moment, with your Enduring Powers of Attorney drawn up, you have the capability at any time to implement that strategy. Do your homework and stay independent!