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How to plan for a family member unable to plan for self (Part I)

Families who care for a family member who qualifies for the Disability Tax Credit (DTC) have special considerations to make when planning for him or her. Who qualifies for a DTC? A dependant, whether a minor or an adult, who must meet one of the following criteria:

a) be blind

b) be markedly restricted in at least one of the basic activities of daily living

c) be significantly restricted in two or more or the basic activities of daily living (can include a vision impairment)

d) need life-sustaining therapy

In addition, the person's impairment must meet all of the following criteria:

1. be prolonged, which means the impairment has lasted, or is expected to last for a continuous period of at least 12 months

2. be present all or substantially all the time (at least 90% of the time)

What are the special considerations when planning for him or her? The family should think about legal matters, financial matters, personal care and health care.

Some of the conditions suffered by a family member that I have encountered in working with families and their financial planning include:

a) Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and dementia

b) Developmental delays

c) Autism, in many of its spectrums

d) Mental health issues including severe depression, anxiety and phobias

Whether a minor or dependant adult, or an adult who is limited in decision making capabilities, the dignity of such a person needs to be maintained. In such, determining how he or she will be supported financially, physically, emotionally and of course spiritually especially when the parents/primary caregiver are/is gone is a major concern for families. Financial planning provides comfort and certainty around those issues that can be planned for ahead of time.

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