Anthony Okolie recaps the biggest news of the day including the latest COVID-19 developments, followed by a conversation with Graham Tonge, Executive Trust Office, TD Wealth about the challenge of providing care for aging parents and seniors during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Hello and welcome to MoneyTalk COVID-19 Daily Bulletin for Friday, April 17. My name is Anthony Okolie. In a few minutes, we'll be speaking with Graham Tonge, the Executive Trust Officer with TD Wealth, about the challenge of providing care for aging parents and seniors during the COVID-19 pandemic. But first, a quick wrap of today's market news.
US President Trump laid out a three-phase approach for reopening the US economy but puts the onus on US states to make the decision. Testing, though, still remains a major stumbling block where the US lags behind other countries on a per capita basis.
A new hope has sprung as drug makers clamor to find a COVID-19 cure. Gilead Sciences' trial drug has shown encouraging results in treating severe patients.
Today, we got the first real sign of just how COVID-19 pandemic has hurt the Chinese economy. China's economy shrank 6.8% in the first quarter, its worst result since 1992.
Further signs companies are taking advantage of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy-- Air Transit intends to tap into the program so that they can rehire 4,000 of its employees that were temporarily laid off.
Finally, consumers stocking up on staples like toilet paper and paper towels ahead of the coronavirus outbreak boosted Procter and Gamble's latest quarterly profits and sales. And that's a wrap of today's market news. As promised, my conversation with Graham Tonge.
Graham, for people with aging parents, given the COVID-19 outbreak that we find ourselves in, what are some of the things that they should be thinking about?
- First and foremost is the safety of your loved one. If your parent is living alone, who is picking up their groceries? How are they keeping themselves? If the parent is in a long-term care facility, how is everyone staying informed by the home, which is likely in lockdown?
From a planning perspective, I'm always asking clients, or their families, have they named someone to be their power of attorney? If that's all set up, when should it be activated? As a trust officer, I organized financial care for elderly clients assisting them with their powers of attorney and estate planning needs. And finally, my team administers their estates professionally as a corporate executor in their will.
- Regarding the power of attorney, is this sort of a one plan fits all or their specific approaches depending on the needs of the client?
- Well, first we should be aware that there are two documents that should be in place to appoint someone your power of attorney-- power of attorney for personal care, which is a person that advocates on your behalf in the hospital with doctors and social workers and helps make decisions on what nursing home and long-term care facility that person should be in, the second is the power of attorney for property, which is the entire financial picture. Making sure their investments are appropriate for their age, making sure their taxes are paid, their bills are paid. Making sure their income flow is adequate, those type of things.
It is important, though, that if you pick a person that they're suitable to advocate on your behalf because you're no longer able to do it for yourself. Often people have their spouse or a close family friend. We need to let people know that there is another option, and that's the trust company. We're here. We provide continuity. And if I leave the bank, someone else will take over my relationships.
I, however, caution against someone appointing a sibling or a friend that's about the same age because that person could predecease or become incapable themselves. We've seen situations where they're called upon to act in this very important capacity and they're not able to do so. Also people appoint their lawyers, which if the lawyer goes out of business, or retires, or predeceases, they're no longer able to fulfill their duties either.
- Not everyone is married with children. There might be some people who are single or don't have someone to lean on. What are some the options available to them?
- Well they could speak to their private trust officer or wealth advisor about the range of services that we offer. Our Financial Care Services act as a concierge to advocate on their behalf. We have connections to estate planning, tax preparation, charitable giving, bill payments, taxes, and investment monitoring and management. The Financial Care Service is not only great for single seniors but also seniors that want to get down and enjoy their retirement. Say, snowbirds going to Florida, then they have someone up in Canada advocating for their financial needs. I also find that this Financial Care Service is a great transition to a power of attorney relationship or eventually an executor in someone's will.
- And, of course, we're in very unusual times with this coronavirus pandemic. In some cases, people can't even get access to their loved ones in senior homes. When you need documents signed or legal activities done, what are some of the options available to people?
- Yes. So it's scary times for sure for everybody. And especially for those with parents in the long-term care home, it's extra stressful. To get their documents drafted or updated can be quite a challenge in these times. If a senior is mentally capable, then they could give their lawyer directions, their wishes, to draft the documents. And then the lawyer can use a webcam to have the documents commissioned. So we're seeing that's happening a little bit now. And we'll probably see that happening a lot more in the future if this pandemic goes on.
For those seniors that are lacking capacity, there is a lengthy and costly court process where someone would need to do a management plan and advocate to become that person's guardian of their property. And as I said, it's a costly and lengthy process but it is an option for someone that doesn't have anybody to act in that capacity.
- Graham, thank you very much for your time.
- Well, you're welcome.
- And thank you for joining us. My name is Anthony Okolie for MoneyTalk. Please join us again soon and stay safe.