Long-term thinking

The Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network (PLAN) has organized another way for parents to provide for their children after their death. It facilitates the creation of surrogate families as support networks and offers estate planning advice to avoid institutionalization of children with disabilities. This organization started in B.C. in 1989 and has inspired a number of affiliated organizations across Canada. Go to www.plan.ca.

Registered Disability Savings Plan

The Canadian government in its 2007 budget created a Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) to allow tax-free saving for disabled persons. Contributions can be made starting in 2008 that will allow funds to be invested tax-free until withdrawal. People who qualify for the Disability Tax Credit will be eligible to open a RDSP. In addition, a Disability Savings Grant and Bond will provide a federal contribution to match contributions for 20 years up to a maximum of $3,500 a year.

The plan provides for a $200,000 maximum lifetime contribution with no annual limit, which may be made by the individual as well as any family members or friends. Contributions will grow interest-free and will be permitted until the end of the year in which the child attains 59 years of age.

Consult a lawyer and financial adviser for expert help. This is not something you should plan on your own.

Linda Silver Dranoff, LSM, BA, LLB, is a Toronto lawyer practising family law, wills and estates and author of Every Canadian’s Guide to the Law (HarperCollins).

Copyright © December 2007 CARP magazine