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Dear Lifelines: Preparing for the Worst

Updated: Jun 9, 2020

Dear Lifelines,

My mother recently went into a care facility and we have been advised to get some paperwork together for her in case she loses her capability to think clearly. What type of paperwork might this include?


Preparing for the worst

Dear Reader,

Thank you for writing and I wish your mother all the best in her new home. There are many things to consider during a time of transition to a care facility and oftentimes they have staff on hand who can assist in getting paperwork together including tax paperwork, applying for benefits from the government that she might be eligible for, Wills, Power of Attorney and Personal Directives. I would recommend seeking legal advice through the facility if this support is available.

Hopefully your mother is comfortable in her new home and she finds she is fitting in – once that is established you might want to explore the preparation of a Personal Directive, a Will and a Power of Attorney. There are many seminars, radio shows, podcasts and brochures offered that go into detail about specific planning that can be considered within Alberta.

A Personal Directive offers your mother some comfort in knowing that should she lose the capability to make decisions for herself, someone will be appointed of her choosing (referred to as an agent) to help explore options for her with regards to such things as health care, accommodations, roommates, social, educational and employment, and other personal matters other than finances. This can potentially eliminate a lot of worry and debate from family members should there be complications with your mother’s health and mental well-being.

A Power of Attorney can offer your mother additional comfort in knowing that someone she trusts can support her in financial decision-making when she is no longer able. Depending on debts, accounts, trusts and other financial responsibilities, the task of being a Power of Attorney can be significant. In addition, the Power of Attorney has a duty to protect the individual’s best interests. Another option is the Enduring Power of Attorney, which can potentially be enacted while your mother is still capable of making decisions.

A Will can offer your mother satisfaction in knowing that her estate will be divided according to her wishes. An Executor is the designated person who is responsible for carrying out the wishes of the will. The task of being an Executor is no small responsibility and the designation should be made with careful consideration.

Although it might seem arduous at the time, it is very worthwhile to explore the preparation of these documents with proper legal advice. Kerby Centre – an older adult facility in Calgary - has legal representatives that will sit with your mother and help support her in the preparation of these documents. Documents are also explained in detail at In looking locally, the Wheatland Further Education Society is offering a course on this subject matter on March 11 for $25 at Crowther Memorial. Visit for details.

Best of wishes to your mother - it’s wonderful that she has you asking these critical questions that can potentially make life so much easier for your family in the future.


“Treasure the wisdom of old age. Learn from elder people and be wise.” Lailah Gifty Akita



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