rdsp ottawa will lawyerAt my law office in the Kanata-Stittsville area of Ottawa, I often get asked this question by parents and other loved ones of a child or adult with a disability. The short answer is, it depends.
I recently met with John and Linda (not their real names) to discuss their estate planning. They were considering whether a Registered Disability Support Plan (‘RDSP’) made sense for their disabled adult son, Peter. Given his limitations, however, they didn’t think he would have the capacity to open it for himself. They wondered if they could open it for him.
As I explained to John and Linda, the answer depends upon a few factors:
• before age 18, if a child with a disability has the Disability Tax Credit  (DTC) certificate issued by CRA, the parents can open an RDSP;
• after age 18, if the person with a disability has the DTC and is capable of entering into a contract, they must open the RDSP;
• if the person with a disability does not have the ability to enter into a contract and does not have a legal representative such as a guardian or Power of Attorney for Property, the parent(s) can open an RDSP for the person but only until December 31, 2016. Whether an individual in this situation has the ability to enter into a contract will be determined by the financial institution offering the RDSP.
What happens after December 31, 2016?
After December 31, 2016, the window for parents like John and Linda will close.  After that date, a legal representative such as a guardian or Power of Attorney for Property must open the RDSP if the person with a disability is found to lack the ability to enter into a contract.  Many parents are surprised to learn that they are not automatically considered to be their adult child’s legal representative. If the person with a disability does not have the required capacity to sign a Power of Attorney for Property, a costly (and possibly otherwise unnecessary) guardianship application will be necessary before an RDSP can be opened.
If you have a child with a disability, call 613.836.9915 or email info@6b3.e97.myftpupload.com to make an appointment to meet with me. We will review your unique situation and discuss the special considerations when estate planning for a child with a disability including who can open an RDSP for your child and how to ensure contributions to the RDSP can continue after your death.

Reproduction of this blog is permitted if the author is credited.  If you have questions or if you would like more information, please call us at 613 836-9915. This blog is not intended to be legal advice but contains general information.  Please consult a lawyer or other professional to determine how the information in this blog might apply to you.
Blog posts pre-dated December 1, 2015 were originally published under Neff Law Office Professional Corporation.

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