James M. Hayes, a lawyer in Binghamton, N.Y., who specializes in estate and other planning for people with special needs and has a developmentally disabled adult son, put it more bluntly. “I’ve never felt like I was taking advantage of anything,” he said. “It’s my adult son. I’ve never really felt that people who have adult children like my son should have a burden that other people don’t have.”
What about US Persons in Canada?
I must say it’s hard for me to continue to feel this strongly hearing the arguments to the contrary that those like my adult son, or for that matter me and the medical care I’ve received in Canada over the years (although remaining in the work force and paying taxes), are not a burden.
Special Needs Planning in Canada, including the RDSP, is a good resource for planning — in Canada for Canadians. There are likely similar programs in other countries.
I’ve tried to plan and save for my son (and my peace of mind) and not leave it all to government funding — through contributing to a Canadian Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) and also putting in place a Discretionary Trust through Royal Trust, in conjnction with my daughter (my son’s only other blood relative in Canada) that will take effect upon my death to seamlessly be the source of paying expenses for my son. Upon my death with my estate consisting of my house, my RRSP/RRIF and minor investment, my son will no longer be eligible for Alberta’s Assured Income for Severely Handicapped (as he will have over the limit of assets, which is the way I think it should be). It seems that because my son is deemed a US citizen (although never registered with the US, never lived in the US, never had any benefit from the US), my planning is of limited use and robs me of the peace of mind so necessary for me that I’ve done everything within my power to ensure my son will be OK after I’m gone (and government funding perhaps gone).
I continue to question that I and other parents, guardians, trustees are not allowed the right, even with a court order, to renounce US citizenship on our family member’s behalf when we deem that in their best interests. Perhaps someone can enlighten me of the benefits my son would have from the US after my death and, as I see it, would have to be transported to that country for his care from the dwindling resources of social security there. Does that make any sense? Why would they want to take this on? Would this make my son very discriminated against in a strange new country, not the one he was born and raised in and looked after and encouraged him to be as independent as possible — Canada?
From the above article for planning for special needs persons within the US (and US Persons Abroad?):
With each passing election season, the conversations about the cost of government-provided health care and Social Security get more urgent.
But debates about the deserving and the undeserving and the proper level of budgets and taxes tend to gloss over the issue of disabled people — many of whom must hope that the programs they rely on are not cut, because they have no way to make up the difference.
There were 5.5 million nonelderly adults with disabilities whose health care was covered by Medicaid in 2009, according to a Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation estimate using the most recent numbers available. And an estimated 6.9 million nonelderly disabled people receive Social Security payments under the Supplemental Security Income program, according to federal government figures.
For every one of those people, many of whom draw from multiple sources of government aid, there are often several family members helping to sort out the financial details of that relative’s care. They navigate a confounding thicket of tasks and rules. On one side, there is the bureaucracy that government program administrators may erect at any moment. On the other, there are specialized trust accounts and estate planning issues to consider. Even sophisticated investors and ace budgeters find themselves lost when encountering all of this for the first time.
Note: I am not a “sophisticated investor” or “ace budgeter” but I have tried to have in place an effective plan for my son.
Just thinking aloud again. Thanks for listening.