If you have a disability, you qualify for an RDSP, and one was opened for your benefit, the RDSP is yours. You may not be the right person to manage it, however. In this case, you can open an RDSP and appoint someone you trust to be the Holder of the RDSP.

The Holder is the person who manages the plan, and makes decisions around investments and payment options. You are probably the Holder if you are an adult and you have ‘contractual competence.’

If an RDSP belongs to a child (younger than 18 years) then the Holder must be a parent or guardian. Parents can remain Holders of the plan after the RDSP owner becomes an adult. They can also pass this over or become joint Holders. Guardians cannot remain Holders of an RDSP belonging to an adult.

For an adult that does not have contractual competency, for a temporary period of time, the federal government is permitting parents, spouses and common-law partners of a new RDSP beneficiary to become plan holders—though once in place, the family member can remain the plan holder for life. The original deadline to take advantage of this opportunity was to end on December 31, 2016, however Budget 2015 proposes to extend this measure to December 31, 2018.

Additionally, adults that do not have contractual competency can appoint an adult guardian to open and manage the RDSP. Adult guardians have different legal names in each province, including power of attorney, tutor, trustee, curator, and committee.

In British Columbia, someone can also appoint a representation through a representation agreement, which provides supported decision making for the RDSP beneficiary.