Determining Quantum: How Much $$ Is Needed To Live Well

Originally published at

Last week, I attended an excellent session organized by my fellow blogger, Paul Fensom from Scotia Private Client Group. The topic was on guardianship, the important role of the guardian, the management plan and the understanding or expectation on how the money should be spent.

Working with defence and plaintiff lawyers, and with individuals who have been catastrophically injured, I am very aware of how these impairments (physical and / or cognitive / behavioural) can significantly impact one’s day to day functioning. The definition I use for ‘functioning’ is global and may include their role as: student, employee, spouse, parent, caregiver and what they did in terms of their livelihood, role within their family, recreational, academic and/or (a)vocational pursuits and interests. The Life Care Plan [defined by the International Academy of Life Care Planners, (2002), Standards of Practice, Journal of Life Care Planning, 1 (1), 49-57] is “a dynamic document based upon published standards of practice, comprehensive assessment, data analysis, and research, which provides an organized, concise plan for current and future needs, with associated costs, for individuals who have experienced catastrophic injury or have chronic health needs”. It is an important document that quantifies the goods and services needed to addresses the losses that the injured party has sustained. It identifies the client’s medical, rehabilitation and social needs and it provides a present day dollar to each of the goods and services. It is recommended that the report then be given to an actuary, accountant or economist, who can then forecast the present day value over the individual’s projected lifetime.

When a young person is injured, projected costs over a lifetime can generate very large numbers, similarly for those who may have congenital rather than acquired impairments. Financial and estate and trust officers can assist their older or disabled clients by understanding and quantifying the full extent of anticipated care needs which may include housing, (accessible or alternative) purchased in home care, assistive devices, equipment, transportation issues and a host of other items. For a senior, it can make the difference to ensure they have dignity and resources to live out their life.

The Life Care Plan (or Future Cost of Care Plan) preferably prepared by a Canadian Certified Life Care Planner can be used as a working tool which in addition to calculating the costs based on medical information, should be referenced regularly. It can be used as a blueprint for planning purposes.

Speak with an expert including a lawyer who specializes in the field, financial advisors/institutions who can responsibly manage these monies and a Certified Life Care Planner who has been trained to systematically review, analyse, research and quantify the current and anticipated required goods and services that are and will be needed, on behalf of your client.

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