Power of Attorney for Autistic Family Member?

When your child on the Autism Spectrum, comes of age, what do you do to help them with their financial decisions? Many folks on the spectrum can deal with money, and will have no issues with money, but for others there will be a need to have safeguards put in place to protect them and help them with their money (and financial decisions).

My assumption had been, that (if need be) for my son, I would simply set up a Power of Attorney, and that would help protect my son, however, I learned from another parent who has a son that is older than 18, that this is not the case.

Since Autism is viewed as a mental incapacity, a Power of Attorney can usually not be used. The simple explanation I can give, is that due to the mental handicap, the person cannot delegate their decisions using a power of attorney, because they do not understand (i.e. competency) what they are delegating or what they are signing. When my friend told me this one, I had one of those, “Oh crap!”, moments.

What need to be done in these situations is setting up a parent as the Statutory guardian for the child (or family member), and this (unfortunately) is a very daunting task, where a lawyer is needed to file documents with the courts (because the Power of Attorney can be done (in most cases) using simple kits that are available on-line). I am sure there are folks that feel they are competent enough to do this on their own, but from what I can decipher (so far) of the documentation I am reading a lawyer will be needed (in my case).

I will (most likely) be setting this up for my son, however, this only needs to be in place by the time he turns 18 (I think). My friend has promised to give me a further tutorial on what he has gone through (and it does not sound like a cheap process either). I make the not cheap comment due to the comment in the Statutory Guardian documentation:

The Public Guardian and Trustee charges a fee of $382.00 plus HST of $49.66 for processing an application for statutory guardianship, under the authority of s.8 of the Public Guardian and Trustee Act.

This article is a “heads up” for those parents out there who might have had the same assumptions I had about Power of Attorney, I will be writing more about this topic as I learn about it (I suspect I might even bend the ear of a few of my Financial Blogging associates to get me through all of this).

Relevant sites:

  • Guardian of Propertywebsite from the Ministry of the Attorney General of Ontario.
  • Becoming a Guardian another Government of Ontario Website.
  • www.e-laws.gov.on.ca  All the laws for the Province of Ontario
  • www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca. This is the website for the Ministry of the Attorney General. It includes bulletins and background about power of attorney, guardianship, the Public Guardian and Trustee and related matters. It also includes copies of the various forms needed to file an application to replace this office, power-of-attorney kits and the like.

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Brexit, Fete National, Enhanced CPP and #MoneyTalk

The UK has voted to leave the EU (Brexit) , which can only mean one thing, but I have no idea what that is. Brexit will mean a great deal of consternation and hang wringing on the markets and the talking heads on TV will go mad, but what will it change? I don’t know, but Brexit will change something (Brexit has caused Mr. Cameron to tender his resignation). I am old enough to remember the UK fighting to join the EEC, so needless to say, I am confused. I won’t be commenting on this much, other than from the son of British immigrants point of view.

For those of you who did not grow up in Quebec, today is La Fête Nationale or St. Jean Baptiste day, typically the start of the summer in Quebec. For me it was always the end of school, but that was 40 years ago. The rest of Canada waits for July 1st for the summer to really start (next Friday). Sort of ironic that on St. Jean Baptiste day the UK “separates” from the EU, just shows how unpredictable referendums can be.

Quebec Proud

Gens Du Pays, c’est à ton tour…

It seems the Canada Pension Plan is being revised to help Canadians retire. It seems to be to protect younger folks so more money is saved for their retirement, we will all pay higher premiums (phased in over the next little while), and the maximum payout will increase over time (but if you are already retired, you won’t benefit from this). I am still investigating, whether this will change much for someone like me who might retire within the next 5 to 8 years. I am searching for an actual Government document that explains the changes, nothing seems to exist yet. Is this a good thing? As usual, I will reserve commentary until I read an official document.

How will all of this change my retirement plans? I will comment when I can figure out how this new system works with my pension, but I suspect, at the end of it all, it won’t change my retirement plans much, but, I (55 year old) am not the demographic that these changes were put in place to help.

Will the Rio Olympics end up like the 1980 Moscow Games and the 1984 Los Angeles Games? There are many folks saying they will not be attending (or are being told they can’t attend), for many reasons. Is the Olympic movement still relevant? Yes, I think, however, the Olympic organization seems suspect.

The Cleveland Cavaliers won the NBA Championship, how much money does that mean to the City of Cleveland? It will certainly mean less jokes about Cleveland, well, maybe not. Is Lebron James better than Michael Jordan? Not in my opinion, and the Warriors team from this year is not better than the 95-96 Chicago Bulls, but, only my opinion.

My Writings for Week Ending June 24th

Another slack week for me, only writing one article, but to me, an important article, that needed to be written. RDSP the Savings Plan Nobody Knows About, came from a discussion I had with another parent about the Registered Disability Savings Plan, and how the people who seem to know the most about the program, are those who are trying to use it (not the folks who offer it, like the banks).

A Money Thought

People get very offended when you tell them how to raise their child, unless you wrote a book about it. Then they’ll pay you for it.  -ShowerThoughts Reddit

The same is true for Personal Finance.

If you had all the money in the world, you wouldn’t be able to spend it, as no one else would use currency.  -More Shower Thoughts on Reddit

👇 For more great financial articles from this week click here 👇

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RDSP the Savings Plan Nobody Knows About

I seem to have collected a few dedicated readers who continue to struggle with the RDSP (Registered Disability Savings Plan) vehicle (as do we all), and from one of them, I got the following e-mail:

Thanks! There are some non-independent advisors out there (associated with a bank or other financial institution) who have developed a specialty in RDSPs out of personal interest, but I have yet to meet an independent one. So far independent advisors know less about RDSPs than we do.

This e-mail came in response to an answer I had written about the ability to slide funds from an RESP to an RDSP (should the child involved not go to a registered training program that the RESP could be used for). If you are looking for more information on this read the CRA page, RDSP Bulletin No. 4it explains the rules around this.

I try very hard to help folks with RDSPs as best I can, but sometimes I am out of my league. With most of my advice, I tell folks they should check with the CRA or another trained professional in most areas, but it is really disheartening to hear that most independent advisors don’t know about the program either.

I continue to harass the big banks about this, but the RDSP continues to not be on their radar scopes. TD Waterhouse offers an actual account, that is as good as it gets for folks who want to have a finer control on the investments (i.e. not just buy Bank Mutual Funds), but it continues to have shortcomings too (i.e. unable to set up an automatic savings schedule transferring money from a checking account directly to the RDSP account).

Friend of this site Ellen Roseman continues to try to help out as well, and for that I am thankful.

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Happy Father’s Day

Happy Father’s Day to all my fellow Fathers out there. My Dad passed away a few years ago, but I still think of his wisdom, humour and how he was Superman to me. One of my favourite stories he told me I include for your enjoyment.

Dad Day

Father’s Day: Dad Just Wants to Know You Are OK


RESP Questrade Banner

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Fathers Day, Trump Housing Bubble, and #MoneyTalk

Hope you realize that Sunday is Father’s Day, formerly, the year when the most collect (i.e. reversed charges) phone calls happened (I bet there are folks who are going to have to Google what that means). As I have said, all Dad’s want is to know you are OK. As long as your Mother knows everything, Dad just wants to know you are OK.

Stats Canada published a neat survey about the Diversity of young adults living with their parents (speaking of Father’s Day), which highlights the number of young folk still living with their parents. The telling statistic that I read in the report was:

Of the 4.3 million young adults aged 20 to 29 in 2011, 42% (or 1.8 million) lived with their parents. This compared with 27% in 1981.

That is a lot of folks still living at home. Some financial folks are saying it is a symptom of the problems with the housing bubbles in major cities, I don’t think I agree. I have stated before that young folk should not aspire to live at their parents’ lifestyle when they first move away from home, but that seems to have fallen on deaf ears.

Given the rhetoric coming out of the United States about whether Mr. Trump gets elected, remember that Canada welcomes everyone (however leave your guns down south). My guess is that this could be like the Draft Dodgers that moved to Toronto in the mid-60’s, and help the Canadian economy greatly. I guess another interesting question is if there was a sudden influx of “Yankee Dollars” would this cause even more inflation of the housing bubbles in Toronto and Vancouver (likely places for our American cousins to move)? A ludicrously over-priced condo in Toronto might seem cheap, if you got a 25% discount due to a low Canadian Dollar.

My Writings for Week Ending June 17th

Not much writing this week, busy time of the year, and after watching the Last Week Tonight Video, I am starting to wonder why I write.

Stealing an idea from Mr. Oliver, I wrote No Good News Has Been Delivered Using Excel, now don’t take this as me dumping on Excel, it is an exceptional tool, which anybody doing anything financial should be proficient in using the tool. My commentary is based on the fact that if someone sends you an Excel spreadsheet, the news in it cannot be made to look good.

Video of the Week

Normally I include a video at the end of this article, but John Oliver has (in 20 minutes) summed up pretty much everything I have ranted about for the past 11 years, so have a watch of this, but keep reading my stuff too

👇 For more great financial articles from this week click here 👇

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