When it comes to estate planning, there is no shortage of important matters to settle. The lawyers at Hart Legal have the skills to assist you with estate management. We have offices to serve you in Victoria and Vancouver. If you want to provide for someone with Persons With Disabilities (PWD) designation, it is important to know how best to structure your estate so as not to negatively affect their government benefits.
Prior to December 1, 2015, PWDs could hold $5,000.00 worth of assets before losing their status as PWDs (and, by extension, their government benefits). Some assets, including funds held in a discretionary trust, were considered exempt from this limit. However, even trust monies were heavily regulated; PWDs could only receive $8,000.00 annually from their trust account for “independence promotion” before their government benefits would be clawed back.
The lawyers at Hart Legal think it goes without saying that $8,000.00 per year is not an awful lot, even with government benefits.
Happily, the financial health of PWDs has the opportunity to improve with recent legislative changes. On December 1, 2015, the BC Provincial government radically changed the limits placed on PWDs who received financial gifts and inheritances. Not only has the asset limit has been raised to $100,000.00, but the $8000.00 annual limit has been lifted entirely. In other words, if a PWD receives more than $8000.00 in a calendar year, their eligibility for government benefits are unaffected.
Trust law is a complicated area of law. The above is a brief introduction to significant changes in BC. Please contact the experienced lawyers at Hart Legal in our Victoria or Vancouver Office if you are planning your estate and want to provide for someone with PWD designation. Don’t let your good intention negatively affect your loved one’s right to assistance.