The Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) is more than just a long term savings plan. It should also be a key element of your estate planning.
In case you are dismissing the RDSP as irrelevant, please consider two samples scenarios.
Firstly, for a low income family opening an RDSP when their child is 4 years old and never contributing a single penny, the account could be worth $239,000 by the time their child is 60 years old!
Next, consider a middle income family ($37,000 to $85,000) contributing $1,500 per year for 20 years. By the time the individual is 60 years old, the account could be worth $1,300,000!
We are talking about serious money here. The RDSP.com website has an interesting calculator that you can use to see how your contributions and the government funds accumulate tax free to a sizable amount. It’s worth putting in your personal numbers to see what an RDSP can do for your child. Remember the earlier you start, the more time you have for the gains to accumulate.
It’s important to remember that the RDSP is a long term savings plan and will do very little for your short terms needs. There is a rule called the 10 year hold-back. It was slightly modified last year, but the basic idea is that if you take money out of the account within 10 years of receiving a grant or bond, the government will claw their contributions back. Just think of the plan as a long term investment for your child and you will be fine.
Grant Bond carry forward
When the RDSP was first introduced, the matching government grants were only given for contributions in that calendar year. That meant that if you missed the Dec 31 deadline, you were out of luck for that year.
Things have now changed. Since 2011, you are now allowed to carry forward unused grant and bond entitlements to future years. The carry forward period can only start after 2007 and lasts for 10 years. Considering the age of your child and the number of years since the disability commenced this can be a significant amount of money. The government will contribute up to $3,500 per year in grants and up to $1,000 in bonds. Refer to my page RDSP for more details.
For those of you who haven’t yet started an RDSP, there is a lot of money on the table and now is the perfect time to set up the account and collect all the government grants and bonds back-dated to 2008. Remember that the child must qualify for the Disability Tax Credit in order to open an RDSP.
A word of caution; don’t use this as an excuse to put off contributions to the RDSP. Firstly, you never know when or if the government might change the rules and secondly, the earlier you start, the more time you have to compound your returns.