This page provides information on the following topics:
What is trusteeship?
Trusteeship applies when an adult does not have capacity to make decisions only on financial matters. The court must make a trusteeship order to allow someone else to make decisions for the adult. A trusteeship order in Alberta can only be made:
- for an adult who is lives in Alberta;
- if the adult does not live in Alberta but owns real estate in Alberta, for that real estate in Alberta.
The adult who is the subject of the trusteeship order is the represented adult. The person named in the trusteeship order to make decisions for the represented adult is the trustee.
If an adult has an Enduring Power of Attorney, then a trusteeship order is not necessary unless the Enduring Power of Attorney does not deal with all types of financial matters. A trusteeship order may be necessary to deal with financial matters not mentioned in the Enduring Power of Attorney. An Attorney named in an Enduring Power of Attorney and a trustee cannot have the same powers.
A trusteeship order can be made for a person up to twelve months before their 18th birthday. This way, the order can come into effect immediately when the represented adult turns 18.
Trusteeship orders specifically list the financial matters for which the trustee may make a decision on behalf of the represented adult. The options include property or financial matters or real estate located outside Alberta.
Trustees cannot make decisions about the represented adult’s personal matters. However, a guardianship order and trusteeship order can be applied for together.
The trusteeship order will include a trusteeship plan, which outlines future decisions the trustee might make.
Being a trustee
The court appoints a trustee but the person must agree with the appointment.
A trustee can be a person (such as a relative or close friend) or a trust corporation. The Public Trustee will only be the trustee if there is no one else who is willing, able and suitable to act for the represented adult and if the Public Trustee consents to being appointed.
A trustee who is a person must:
- be 18 years of age or older;
- be able to act for the adult (they must have capacity and be able to effectively manage the adult’s financial matters);
- know and act according to the represented adult’s beliefs, values and wishes;
- have a good relationship with the adult;
A trustee’s (individual or trust corporation) responsibilities include:
- consenting to acting as the trustee;
- making efforts to determine if the represented adult has a Will;
- keeping the represented adult’s property separate from their own;
- acting in the best interests of the represented adult;
- paying expenses reasonably required for the represented adult’s education, support and care;
- exercising its powers to help the represented adult’s spouse, adult interdependent partner, minor child or dependent child (over 18 years of age but unable to support themselves due to a physical or mental disability) (if appropriate);
- keeping accounts of its activities as the trustee;
- complying with the terms of the trusteeship order and trusteeship plan; and
- acting in good faith, or else they can be held liable for their actions.
A trustee must perform its duties using the care, skill and diligence that a reasonable person would use in managing their own financial matters.
Applying for a trusteeship order
There are many documents that must be completed and submitted to the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee before the court will grant a trusteeship order.
The necessary documents include:
- a Capacity Assessment Report (Form 3);
- the application forms (available online or from the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee); and
- the background check forms.
The order can be made by way of a “desk application”. A desk application is a process for getting a court order without going to court. If the matter is straightforward and no one is challenging the proposed arrangement, then the application can be made by submitting the completed forms to a Review Officer at your local Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee.
The Review Officer reviews the documents, prepares a report, and files that report with the court. If the court is satisfied with the information it receives, it can grant the order. A judge will schedule a court date if they are not satisfied with the information and want to hear from the represented adult, proposed trustee, or others.
If someone is contesting (opposing) the application, then it must be filed directly with the court and a hearing will be scheduled.
Before granting a trusteeship order, the court must find that:
- the adult does not have capacity to make decisions about the financial matters listed in the trusteeship order;
- less intrusive and less restrictive supports are not suitable; and
- it is in the adult’s best interests to have a trustee.
For more information on guardianship and applying for a guardianship order, see:
- CPLEA’s Adult Guardianship and Trusteeship booklet
- Government of Alberta: Trusteeship