As we age, we may experience a decline in health or cognitive capacity that could result in difficulty making financial decisions independently. Unfortunately, relying on the help of family members, caregivers and friends can increase the risk of financial exploitation and fraud. One way to safeguard against potential future financial harm is by naming a Trusted Contact Person (TCP).
Who is a Trusted Contact Person?
If you invest with a financial institution or investment firm, your advisor is required to ask you about providing a Trusted Contact Person (TCP). The decision to name a TCP is optional and it’s your choice if you would like to name someone. Providing your advisor with consent to contact your TCP is similar to providing them with an emergency contact. Depending on the consent you provide, your advisor could contact your TCP in the following circumstances:
- You cannot be reached after repeated attempts and where failure to contact you would be unusual
- The advisor has concerns you are being financially exploited
- The advisor has concerns about mental capacity as it relates to your ability to make financial decisions
- Your advisor needs confirmation of your legal representative (e.g. power of attorney, executor, trustee)
For example, your advisor may contact your TCP when they cannot reach you because you have taken an extended vacation and forgot to inform them. Or, in more sensitive situations, your advisor may contact your TCP to ensure the validity of a request that they believe is out of character.
What can and can’t my Trusted Contact Person do?
A TCP’s sole purpose is to help safeguard your financial assets by being an additional resource to help your advisor make decisions that best protect your account. Your advisor might contact your TCP to discuss:
- Concerns about your mental capacity and ability to make financial decisions
- Signs of financial mistreatment or abuse they’ve observed
- Concerns that you are being scammed
Your TCP is different than a power of attorney. A TCP is not permitted to manage your finances or make financial decisions on your behalf.
Who should be your Trusted Contact Person?
A TCP should be a mature family member or friend who you trust, and you should feel comfortable that they can handle difficult conversations about your personal situation if they arise. Consider choosing someone you know will protect your interests, is familiar with your support network, and is not typically involved in your financial decisions. You should also ensure the person you select agrees to take on the role and is comfortable talking to your advisor.
While naming a TCP on your account is optional and not a legal process, it can provide you valuable peace of mind knowing that your advisor has someone you trust to help safeguard your financial assets now and in the future.
To learn more about assigning a TCP to your accounts, please visit our Investing as you age page or speak to your registered advisor.