Planning for the Future: How to Support People with Disabilities

Traditionally, parents, siblings and caregivers of people who has a disability have engaged in future planning for their loved ones, without taking into account the wishes or preferences of their family member. As of late, there has been greater interest in future planning with people who have a disability. Rather than making plans on behalf of their loved ones, family members and friends may wish to support an individual with a disability in exercising their autonomy to make their own life choices and determine their own future paths.

One such path that may be used to support people with disabilities is a self-directed support organization (“SDSO”), some examples of which are y known as a “Microboard”™ or an “aroha.” In essence, an SDSO is a small group of people that incorporate a not-for-profit corporation to support an individual with a disability throughout their lifetime. In addition to supporting the person with everyday decisions, advocacy and navigating their communities , an SDSO may:

      • administer individualized funding arrangements;
      • engage support workers;
      • receive and manage income and disability supports; and
      • advocate for additional supports and resources.

While an SDSO is not for everyone, many people and families have been using them to complement their overall estate and future plan.

People and families are also increasingly seeking advice in relation to home ownership options. There are several factors to consider such as legal decision-making, tax, and Ontario Disability Support Program (“ODSP”) implications, personal and financial supports, and succession planning. Families may consider creating a separate housing trust for the person with a disability during their lifetime to provide secure and personalized living arrangements. These options should also be discussed as part of the overall estate plan.

The use of SDSOs and considerations related to home ownership both promote autonomy for people and complement the family estate and future planning process.

For further information about SDSOs and home ownership, download our Estate Planning guide here.

For further information about engaging supports workers through an SDSO, download our Engaging Support Workers guide here. 

If you have any questions or would like to start your future planning process, please connect with Brendon Pooran.

Note: This article provides general information only and does not constitute, and should not be relied upon as, legal advice or opinion. PooranLaw Professional Corporation holds the copyright to this article and the article and its contents may not be copied or reproduced in any form, in whole or in part, without the express permission of PooranLaw Professional Corporation.