Autism and Financial Planning – A Summary
From the feedback we’ve received from parents, our Autism and Financial Planning Conference was a big success. There was a lot of information from the different professionals.
Donna Neff explained why it is so critical to have one’s will in order when there is a special needs child to consider. Although no one likes to think about it, a child with autism will likely need specialized care if something happens to his or her parents. Any guardian who is selected should understand and agree to the responsibility. She also explained how putting an autistic child’s inheritance in a Hansen trust can protect their Ontario Disability funding.
The final word of advice was to seek professional aid in setting up a will and other legal documents, preferably from someone with experience dealing with special needs.
Mathieu St-Denis gave a comprehensive presentation on the Registered Disability Savings Plan and how best to utilize it. The RDSP is designed to provide financial support for an adult with autism after their primary caregivers have retired or passed on. He explained the conditions for depositing and withdrawing funds as well as the system of grants which the government will provide to match contributions.
Gail Vaz-Oxlade shared the touching and sometimes humourous story of raising her own son with autism. She faced the same difficult battles that many of us face: finding a timely diagnosis and effective treatment strategies, challenges with various school professionals and dealing with the added emotional upheavals and financial challenges of raising a child with autism. Her determination and insistence on finding options which worked for her family was inspiring. Her son is now preparing to attend university.
Her message to parents was to never give up. Talk to other parents, do the research and find ways around arbitrary restrictions. That is what enabled her to get the tools and help her son needed. Her love for both her children shone through every word of her talk.
Thank you to all our presenters and to the families who took time out of their busy schedules to join us.