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Ontario Henson Trust Lawyer

An Experienced Ontario Estate Planning Lawyer Helping Individuals Protect their Eligibility for Disability Benefits.

Living with a disability is invariably expensive, and thousands of people in Ontario and the rest of Canada rely on provincial benefits in order to make ends meet. Unfortunately, for many families, providing disabled children or other relatives with financial help or an inheritance can jeopardize their eligibility for benefits, potentially resulting in significant depletion of a family’s hard-earned assets. Fortunately, by placing assets into a Henson Trust, you can preserve your loved one’s eligibility for provincial benefits and protect your assets while ensuring that their needs are met. To learn more, call our office today to speak with a Henson Trust lawyer in Ontario about your situation.

What is a Henson Trust?

A Henson Trust is a specialized trust that is used to provide for people with disabilities while preserving their eligibility for provincial benefits. Also known as absolute discretionary trusts, Henson Trusts have been available since 1989 and are named for the case that upheld their use, The Minister of Community and Social Services Henson. Because the trustee of a Henson Trust has absolute discretion to distribute trust assets as he or she sees fit, the assets in the trust are not considered the assets of the beneficiary.

As a result, assets in the Henson Trust cannot be used against the $5,000 asset limit for Ontario disability support benefits. Typically, Henson Trusts are created in a person’s will, but they can also be established while a person is alive.

Who Can Benefit from a Henson Trust?

Individuals who are disabled or who otherwise are unable to handle their own affairs may benefit from their parents or other family members establishing a Henson Trust. In addition, Henson Trusts can be used to protect assets from inclusion in the marital estate, meaning that the assets in the trust will not be subject to division in the event of a divorce.

Do You Need a Lawyer to Establish a Henson Trust?

There is no legal requirement that you work with a lawyer to create a trust. That said, the creation of trust – either in a will or while you are alive – is a complicated legal matter, so it is highly advisable that you hire an attorney to create the trust for you. Some of the specific ways in which a lawyer can help you if you are considering establishing a Henson Trust include:

  • Determining whether your adult child or other loved one is eligible for a Henson Trust
  • Drafting a will that will create trust in compliance with legal requirements
  • In the alternative, drafting and executing trust documents that create trust while you are alive
  • Advising you as to how to pick a trustee that will protect your assets and manage the trust assets responsibly

Schedule a Consultation with a Henson Trust Lawyer in Ontario

If you have a child with disabilities or are considering protecting your family’s assets from division through a divorce, you should speak with a lawyer as soon as you can. Lawyer Ken Pope specializes in helping families plan for the future by establishing Henson Trusts and engaging in other forms of estate planning.