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Supreme Court Settles Henson Trust Debate

A positive development to clearly settle the fact that a Henson Trust is exempt from all other social benefits.

A Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) decision in the Henson Trust issue is “a big win” for people with disabilities, Ottawa disabilities and estate planning lawyer Kenneth Pope tells AdvocateDaily.com.

In its Jan. 25 ruling, the court determined that Henson Trust assets do not disqualify a benefit recipient from being eligible for income-assisted housing.

“This is a very positive development to clearly settle the fact that a Henson Trust is exempt from all other social benefits,” says Pope, principal of Kenneth C. Pope Law. “This is the culmination of what started upon Mr. Henson's death in 1985."

In the landmark decision, the court ruled a Vancouver woman can have her non-profit housing society rental subsidy continued even though she is the beneficiary of a trust fund.

The woman, who lives on disability payments of $934.42 a month, had been renting a Metro Vancouver Housing Corporation (MVHC) apartment for more than 25 years, according to court documents.

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