Often people come to me because of my legal background, however, I DO NOT PRACTICE LAW in British Columbia and cannot offer you legal advise. Nor can I offer you investment advice. What I can do is suggest that you do not wait too long to address these issues, and that you get in touch with someone who is experienced in this area as soon as possible.
These issues apply for individuals with ADHD, learning disabilities, autism and related cognitive disorders.
As I psychologist I offer my expertise completing tests and assessments that are necessary to proceed. However, you must make connections with appropriate provincial and federal agencies, and find yourself a good tax and investment consultant.
Some parents say they will have very little to leave their child, but often that child would be qualifying for federal tax benefits, as well as an RDSP (a Registered Disability Savings Plan). The benefits from these plans are simply too good to ignore. Government incentives go up to an annual amount of $3,500 to a maximum of $70,000. To qualify you must be:
A Canadian resident
Have a valid social insurance number
Be under the age of 60
Complete a Disability Tax Credit Certificate (Canada Revenue Agency Form T2201) with the assistance of a qualified practitioner and receive notification of approval from the Canada Revenue Agency.
You child's school, if he or she is in secondary school and has a disability, should be able to help you through your child's IEP (Individual Education Plan.) That plan should address how your child will be as independent as possible.
Another issue you should address , as early as possible, is who will care for your child if something happens to you. One key element of this is setting up a Disability Trust Fund. This protects your child, and protects those who you hope will provide that care. Talk to a financial planner, or even your bank, about this.
You might also try contact ACT - Autism Community Training.
Contact them directly and ask if they know of any workshops on setting up Disability Trust Funds and other legal questions. They have a great resource page found here:
ClickLaw is a great resource for this information. Here is their current webpage on this topic:
Here is a brief summary of the information:
Many people with disabilities find they have extra costs because of their disability. People who have these or other disability-related costs (and their families) may want to create resources to pay for these costs now and in the future.
The resources below explain the different kinds of trusts, who can set one up, and how it may affect disability assistance.
Good starting points include:
Disability Assistance and Trusts, from the provincial government, provides overview information about what a trust is, how a trust is set up, and how it can make payments.
Trusts for People Receiving the Persons with Disabilities (PWD) Benefit, from Disability Alliance BC, is a factsheet that explains what a trust is, who can set one up, and how they work.
Future Planning Tool, from Plan Institute, guides you through the steps of building a personal plan to secure the future for you or anyone with a disability. One of the planning topics is trusts, where you can learn about trusts, Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP), Qualified Disability Trust (QDT), and finding professional advice.
Need more help?
Plan Institute has workshops on Wills, Trusts & Estates Planning. The setting is a small group where specific individual questions are answered. Each session is co-facilitated by an attorney, along with a PLAN parent. You have to register and pay a fee for this workshop.
Advocacy Access Program, from Disability Alliance BC, provides assistance for people with disabilities. They can direct you to community organizations that may provide information about trusts to you.
Lawyer Referral Service, from the Canadian Bar Association BC Branch, offers an initial consultation of up to 30 minutes with a lawyer for $25. You may need a lawyer to set up your trust.
These are often difficult topics to deal with. Your welcome to set up an appointment to come in and I can at least guide you in the right direction. We can also talk about the usual testing and assessment that these programs require.
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