Tag: disability planning
Recent amendments to the regulations under the Ontario Disability Support Program Act have made significant changes to the Program, making it easier for people with disabilities to qualify for and maintain benefits. The amendments vary the asset and income limits under the Act.
Prior to the amendments, an ODSP recipient was entitled to receive payments from a trust or life insurance policy or gifts or other voluntary payments of up to $6,000 and still receive benefits. These payments would not be included in the calculation of the income of the recipient. Any payments beyond this would be included in income, and may reduce the benefits received. Under the amendments, effective September 1, 2017, these payments may now be up to $10,000. Also, payments made for the purchase of a principal residence, motor vehicle or payment of first and last month’s rent are now specifically excluded from the definition of income.
Further, the prescribed limits for assets have been altered substantially. Prior to the amendments, benefits were restricted to individuals with assets totalling less than $5,000. (Note: the definition of assets excludes a number of assets from the calculation.) Under the new regulation, an individual can have assets totalling $40,000 and still qualify for benefits. For couples, the prior limit of $7,500 is increased to $50,000.
Benefits payable have also been increased slightly: from $649 per month to $662 per month for an individual, and from $479 per month to $489 per month for an individual for shelter.
Estate planners should be aware of these changes, and the other provisions of the program, and should discuss these with clients planning for children with disabilities, and when advising disabled beneficiaries of an estate.
For a general discussion of the Ontario Disability Support Program, see my paper “ODSP: What Every Estate Solicitor Needs to Know”.
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A Vanity Fair article published late last year writes on the relationship between playwright, Arthur Miller and his son, Daniel Miller who was born with Down Syndrome. Daniel was born in 1966 and institutionalized one week after being born and apparently while other family members kept in touch with Daniel, Miller rarely visited him or spoke of him.
When Miller died in February 2005, very few people knew of Daniel’s existence. Only one obituary notice mentioned Daniel and Miller’s own memoirs include no mention of Daniel.
Six weeks before his death, Miller made Daniel a full and direct heir equal to his other three children. While Daniel is not mentioned in the Will directly; separate trust documents, created the same day and sealed from public view, make Daniel an equal heir to Miller’s estate.
The article speculates that this was likely done contrary to legal advice as Miller’s bequest makes Daniel too wealthy to receive government assistance and a special trust was not created that would allow Daniel to inherit from the estate and continue to receive government assistance. In fact, Connecticut’s Department of Administrative Services issued a reimbursement claim to the estate for Daniel’s care since infancy and the estate is settling the claim.
Miller’s relationship with Daniel was complex and only Miller would be able to answer as to why he decided to make Daniel, who he did not publically acknowledge during his lifetime,an equal heir to his estate.
Separation Agreements in the Context of Estate Planning – Hull on Estate and Succession Planning Podcast #59
Listen to "Separation Agreements in the Context of Estate Planning"
Read the transcribed version "Separation Agreements in the Context of Estate Planning"
During Hull on Estate and Succession Planning Podcast #59, Ian and Suzana discuss Separation Agreements and the general elements of estate planning upon separation from a spouse.
They cover many important aspects of a separation agreement that should be considered when turning your mind to estate planning, including joint assets, joint debts, property, and disability planning.