Skip to content
Canajun Finances Home » Power of Attorney for Autistic Family Member?

Power of Attorney for Autistic Family Member?

When your child on the Autism Spectrum turns 18, 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. For others, safeguards will be needed to be put in place to protect them. These safeguards will help them with their money (and financial decisions). I assumed that (if need be) for my son, I would set up a Power of Attorney for an Autistic loved one, which would help protect my son. However, I learned from another parent who has a son older than 18 this is not the case.

Since Autism is a mental incapacity, a Power of Attorney for Autistic adults cannot be used in most cases. 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 trusting or signing. When my friend told me this, I had one “Oh crap!” moment.

In these situations, what needs to happen is to set up a parent as the statutory guardian for the child (or family member). The process is very daunting, where a lawyer must file documents with the courts. A standard power of attorney is a simple kit available online. I am sure some folks feel competent enough to do this independently. From what I can decipher (so far) of the documentation, I will need a lawyer.

Power of Attorney for My Son

I will (most likely) be setting this up for my son. Luckily 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 statement 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.

This guardianship is very important if you have set up an RDSP for your loved one. Guardianship is an important topic to keep in mind. How will your loved one cope financially as an Adult?

Relevant sites:

  • Guardian of Propertywebsite from the Ministry of the Attorney General of Ontario.
  • Becoming a Guardian, another Government of Ontario Website. Remember the ODSP may come into play here too.
  •  All the laws for the Province of Ontario.
  • 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.
  • The RDSP Page is the Overview of all articles I have written about the RDSP (including DTC and other areas).
    • RDSP : Laying the Ground Work (first things first)
      What needs to be done BEFORE you can apply for a Registered Disability Savings Plan? A major aspect of this is the Disability Tax Credit (DTC). Make sure you click on this page to get started.
    • RDSP : Working with The Account
      Now that you have succeeded in getting your Disability Tax Credit (DTC) you need to open an RDSP account with a bank, but how is that done? It is not as easy as you might think. This page outlines many issues that have arisen for my family working with an RDSP account.
    • Disability Tax Credit Related Topics
      Thanks to my RDSP and DTC work I then had to learn a great deal about the tax implications of having a disabled child.
    • Autism Specific Articles
      Being the proud Father of a child on the Autism Spectrum, I also ended up writing a great deal about Autism specific things as well.

Feel Free to Comment

  1. If there are professionals that wish to weigh in on this (and any inaccuracies you might see here), please feel free, I am only in a learning phase right now.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Verified by MonsterInsights