If you have an adult child with an incapacitating disability, then you undoubtedly want to plan your estate so that it provides for your child's needs when you are unable to do so yourself. There are numerous ways to do this, and it is important to choose the strategy that best meets your family's needs.
With that in mind, consider a lawsuit recently filed against the three siblings of a disabled Ontario man. He was excluded from his father's will, which was drafted in B.C., and unbeknownst to the son, the B.C. government took legal action on his behalf. The government claims that the estate failed to provide proper maintenance and support to the mentally challenged son.
According to the disabled brother's sister, their father set aside $20,000 to cover any of the brother's emergency needs, and that money was given to the sister to distribute. However, she says that not much of the money has been used so far because the brother's Ontario disability payments are more than sufficient to cover his monthly expenses.
Still, the B.C. Public Trustee is suing the disabled brother's siblings, who say they were never even contacted by the provincial government until after the lawsuit was filed. They also say that neither the brother nor his caregiver in Ontario was contacted by the trustee before or after the lawsuit.
While the outcome of this case remains to be seen, it serves as a reminder of the various options families have for caring for mentally incapable loved ones. A trust, for example, can be an excellent way to hold and distribute money for a disabled child. You can design the trust to include instructions for the distribution of funds under specific circumstances and over a specified period of time. In many cases, this approach is safer and more appropriate than excluding a disabled child from the will.
For more on these matters, including preserving eligibility for benefits from the Ontario Disability Support Plan, please see Hagel Lawfirm's trust administration overview.