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Does your estate plan need a Henson Trust?

trusts Jul 17, 2019

In January 2019 the Supreme Court of Canada released a decision on the case of S.A. v. Metro Vancouver Housing Corp. 2019 SCC 4. This case is a positive decision for persons with a disability.

The case involved a 56-year-old women (S.with disabilities who couldn't work, and who was denied a housing subsidy in 2015 because she refused to provide the Metro Vancouver Housing Corporation information about a Henson trust that she had been left in her late fathers estate. The  women was told by the housing authority that even though she had lived in the complex since 1992, she no longer qualified for a rent subsidy unless she disclosed to the corporation the value of the Henson trust that was created by the 1/3 interest in her late fathers estate.

The housing Authority had a policy that rental subsidies would not be provided to people that had assets in excess of $25,000.00. The women and her sister were co-trustees of the Henson trust and took the position that the Henson trust did not qualify as an asset. Both BC courts held that the Henson trust was an asset and that the women's $629.00 rental subsidy should be eliminated.

All 9 judges agreed with the women that her Henson trust was not an asset and that she had no actual entitlement to the funds within the trust. The women had no means to independently compel payments out of her Henson trust.

This case is very important for families with children who have a disability but reinforce the fact that Henson trust arrangements need to be drafted in a way where the trust assets & monies is actually outside the control of the person with disability in order to be protected. If your family requires a Henson trust in their will call our team at 780-458-8228. We are here to help!


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