MICA is an association of caregivers working on behalf of the caregiver community to increase awareness of and access to resources available that provide support, and lifelong care for our loved ones living with mental illness. We bring caregivers together to develop, present and implement actions and solutions that have a lasting and positive impact on the quality of life of both caregivers and those they care for.
Over the last several months, caregivers have shared their concerns with MICA regarding the housing needs of their loved ones, and how their loved ones with mental illness and/or developmental disabilities will manage if the caregivers are no longer able to care for them, or after they are gone.
They want to be confident that after they are gone there are financial, legal and property management arrangements as well as personal supports in place in support of a housing plan that ensures both the well-being of their loved one and continued access to a safe place to live.
On 01 December MICA’s Caregiver Resource Hub hosted its first in a series of workshops to be held in the coming months with the this one focusing on estate planning. Our guest speaker, Natalie Sanna, Lafrenière Sanna Estate Law, presented and lead a discussion regarding estate planning for caregivers exploring options for the housing needs of their loved ones. The presentation set the foundation for sound estate planning that provided the context for the discussion focused on housing options
A report on what we learned follows.Included is our invitation to continue the discussion. We invite you to ask questions.
Topics discussed included: what is proper estate planning, probate, trusts, substitute decision makers (powers of attorney and guardianship). As we share what we learned our intent is to do so one topic at a time beginning with ‘trusts’.
The trust document sets out terms/conditions of the trust as a separate document or within a will including the appointment of a trustee(s), name of beneficiaries (income and capital) and powers of trustee(s).
Trustee’s duties and responsibilities include managing assets in the trust, maintaining accurate, up-to-date records, filing income tax returns, and paying taxes annually and ODSP reporting. It is important to set your trustee up for success by sharing your knowledge as a caregiver, providing memos for trustee as guidance including list of health care providers, support workers and by surrounding them with a team of professionals (accountant, financial planner, and lawyer).
We invite you ask your questions regarding the information above and as they relate to the following topics as we continue our discussion around establishing the foundations for proper estate planning:
Probate: a legal process that occurs when a person dies that involves the ‘proof’ of their Will in Court. It is a process that is completed when decedent leaves assets to be distributed such as bank accounts, real estate, and investments.
Substitution decision makers (Powers of Attorney and Guardianship) – starting presumption is a “person has the mental capacity to make decisions for themselves.” Presumption can be relied upon unless there are reasonable grounds to believe that a person is not capable of making a particular decision.
If not mentally capable the right to decide is removed and someone may be entitled to make that decision – “a substitute decision maker”