Estate plans when fair vs. equal is the least of your worries

Earlier this year I was talking to some close family friends about their estate plan when they expressed frustration to me about not knowing where to start because of their special needs child.

Fair vs. equal is a big enough issue when it comes to deciding who needs more, when you want to treat everyone the same, but now they have the added difficulty of trying to figure out how to leave an inheritance to someone who is unable to manage it.

Trust and family conflict doesn’t always allow for a family member to become a trustee, yet at the same time you don’t want your estate decreasing because of paycheques to a corporate trustee or firm.

As the night went on more and more concerns kept coming up: 

  • What about the government? What role do they have in your personal estate when it comes to taking care of an exceptional needs child? 
  • If another family member holds the funds, are the funds protected from divorce? 
  • How do I protect them from bad money management? 
  • What about business shares or property? 
  • How do we protect the principal so it continues to generate revenue to live off of, but allow it to be excisable if needed for treatment?

As the year went on, the need for information on this issue continued to
arise in different places. Having done some research I began to get frustrated with the issue and brought it forward to the team here at ABFI. 

Phil Renaud, LLB
stepped up to the plate to address all of these issues to help us plan for our family’s needs. Phil practices exclusively in the area of estates and trusts, which includes wills, trusts, estate administration, estate planning, First Nations trusts, farm and business succession planning, and mediation of estate disputes.

With recent news coming from the south that Autism affects one in 91 children — including 1 in 58 boys — in the U.S. we realized that this is more relevant to our community than we could ever have expected. 

Whether or not you are a member of a business family, if you can benefit from Phil’s talk please don’t hesitate to register for our Oct 20, 2009 presentation: Planning for the Exceptional Needs Child.

This entry was posted in Estate Planning, Family Policy, Key Documents. Bookmark the permalink.

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