Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP)


Helping people who lack contractual capacity create an RDSP even when they don’t have a substitute decision maker

Every estate planner recommends that you appoint someone to make decisions for you if you reach a point where you can’t make those decisions yourself. Typically, you do so by signing a power of attorney appointing a trusted person to make decisions about your property and personal care if you become unable to make those decisions.

If you don’t have a power of attorney, and if you become incapacitated, a trusted individual, like a family member, has to go to the Public Trustee’s office to secure the right to make decisions concerning your property, and before a judge to get the right to make decisions about your personal care. Both are time consuming processes.

Federal law provides that if you can’t establish an RDSP yourself, the plan holder has to be your legal representative, according to provincial or territorial law(subsection 146.4(1) of the Income Tax Act, c.f. “qualifying family member” and “qualifying person”)

Some provinces and territories have streamlined their provisions to let a trusted individual manage an incapacitated person’s property, while others have yet to develop such systems. For those provinces and territories that have yet to develop their systems, the federal government provides a temporary streamlined process that allows a family member (parent, spouse or common-law partner) to be an RDSP plan holder. This measure was set to expire at the end of 2018, but will be extended until the end of 2023, to allow all provinces and territories to amend their laws.

For more information on the 2018 federal budget, please visit