Being financially secure is a priority for every family, especially when thinking about the future. We want to be sure we save enough money to handle emergencies and unforeseen events, but we also want to have enough to live comfortably.
For our sons and daughters with disabilities, many live on low-incomes with limits to gifts, income and assets. We have heard too many stories of a well-intentioned financial gift or estate resulting in a loss of disability benefits. We don’t want our relatives end up like this. Simply existing isn’t good enough – we want our loved ones to live a good life.
At PLAN, we believe in using a mix of financial options to help secure the future for your loved ones. To determine the right plan for your family, we encourage you to consult with a professional.
Will & Estate Planning
Before you create your Will, you must be clear about the details. Every family situation is unique. You are going to rely on your family after you are gone, so it’s a good idea to discuss things with them now. If the person you want to be your executor is intimidated by lawyers or has never invested money, now is the time to find out.
You should also consider talking with extended family, friends, members of your relative’s Personal Support Network, other families in similar circumstances, and so on.
If you die without a Will, provincial laws set out how your estate will be distributed. This means you will have no control over how your estate is divided. Further, you will not be able to protect the inheritance you want to leave to your relative with a disability.
In 2015, our advocacy helped the Province of British Columbia to raise the asset-limit for people with disabilities to $100,000. This means that families can leave money to their children without impacting disability benefits in the future.
Many families choose to set up a discretionary trust in their Will to benefit their child with a disability. To do this, you appoint a trustee who has the authority to decide when and how much of the trust fund.
It’s important that the Trustee is someone in close contact with the beneficiary, since they will need to consult regularly to ensure funds are spent according to priorities.
In many cases, discretionary trusts are not considered assets for the beneficiary, which makes this a good option in locations where other benefits could be clawed back otherwise.
The Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP)
In 2008, our advocacy supported the Government of Canada to implement the RDSP. Regardless of your income. the RDSP is a powerful tool for securing the financial well-being of your relative with a disability.
Anyone can contribute to an RDSP and the funds grow tax-deferred. In many situations, the federal government will assist by generously your contributions.
Anyone can make contributions: parents, grandparents, other family members, friends, agencies, foundations, and so on. The contributions are not tax-deductible and once contributed into the RDSP, they become the asset of the beneficiary of the RDSP.
Plan Institute also offers a number of seminars and workshops about important future planning topics. They include
- A workshop on Wills, Trusts and Estate Planning
- Seminars and Tele-seminars on the Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP)
To learn more about courses offered by Plan Institute, please visit www.planinstitute.ca.