"The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don't want it badly enough."
~ Randy Pausch, professor

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Financial and Estate Planning Tool

We've talked at length, on various occasions, about the challenges involved in planning for your child's future security, be it personal or financial.

In that vein, although no longer exactly *new*, I've been meaning to share NBACL's financial and estate planning resource.

From Ken Pike, NBACL Director of Social Policy:
There are many issue to consider when making financial and estate plans for your family member with a disability. NBACL's new online resource, Financial and Estate Planning for a Family Member with a Disability, provides information on a number of important topics as well as links to other resources that may be useful. The on-line module has information about
  • The key elements of good financial planning;
  • The tax system, including credits, benefits and deductions relevant to people with disabilities and their families;
  • Registered Disability Savings Plans;
  • Estate planning considerations and options for a family member with a disability;
  • Establishing a financial trust for a loved one with a disability;
  • The impact of provincial social assistance laws and rules on financial and estate planning [See Below]; and
  • Planning for a home for a family member with a disability.
The module also contains a series of family financial and estate planning scenarios that offer some guidance from a qualified financial planner and a lawyer that address the situations presented.
As Ken notes, although the law in this area is often changing, NBACL has committed itself to keeping the information current.

Which is where the one BIG CAVEAT comes in - the site is based on New Brunswick law, not Nova Scotia law.

Although, fortunately, that is not quite as big of a problem as you might first think as, in many respects, the law is similar in both provinces around these issues. However, one area where the law does substantially differ between the provinces is how income* and assets* are treated with regard to social assistance payments.

Speaking of which, it's essential to remember that in Nova Scotia any trust you create for a loved one with a disability must be a so-called "Henson Trust" (referred to in the NB Resource as an  absolute discretionary trust) in order to ensure that social assistance payments are not affected.

* NOTE: Although you can find the Employment Support and Income Assistance policy manual here, I would strongly suggest that you always double check what you read in any policy document to make sure it complies with the regulations made under the applicable Act.


Jean Coleman said...

Great information and one families need to know.

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