The Adult Trusteeship Process in Alberta
As a trustee for a represented adult, you are able to make financial decisions for that person and have control over the person’s financial assets. Trustees are appointed by the court for adults who do not have the mental capacity to make decisions for themselves. Please note that adults who have an enduring power of attorney do not require trustees.
Trustees can pay the represented adult’s bills, manage his or her investments, and apply for Old Age Security and other financial benefits. As a trustee, you cannot make decisions about the adult’s personal care unless you are also a guardian.
To deal with real estate on behalf of the represented adult, the trustee must get the court’s permission. This includes selling or refinancing the adult’s home.
Once an application for a court order has been submitted, it may take approximately three to six months for the court to make a decision.
Trusteeship Application Process
The first step is to have the adult’s capacity assessed by a professional. The assessment can be done by the adult’s family doctor or another physician, a psychologist or psychiatrist, or a designated capacity assessor. A completed Form 4: Capacity Assessment Report (Guardianship or Trusteeship or Both) must be included with your application and it must have been dated within six months of the date the application is submitted.
Secondly, choose which application path to take. If you don’t expect anyone to oppose your application, you can choose a desk application, which will not require you to go to court. The judge will make a decision based on the application.
If you expect someone to oppose the application or you need the trusteeship order quickly, choose application by hearing. This means you or your lawyer will appear in court and the judge will make a decision based on the application and what is said at the hearing.
It is very important that the application is filled out properly and all required information is included. If you work with a lawyer, he or she will guide you through this process and ensure it is done correctly. Your lawyer will also submit the application and the Capacity Assessment Report.
The Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee will have a review officer meet with the adult to discuss the application for trusteeship. This ensures the adult’s opinion is taken into account. The review officer will provide the court with a report based on this meeting.
The review officer will also contact the people listed as “interested parties” in the application as well as anyone else they think should be made aware of the application, letting them know they can request a court hearing if they don’t agree with it. If anyone opposes the application and wishes to have a hearing, they must submit a specific form by the date provided in the review officer’s letter.
If trusteeship is granted, a copy of the court order will be sent to the trustee, the represented adult, and other relevant parties. It will name the trustee and any alternates.
The court may wish to review the trusteeship at a later date to ensure the arrangement is working. If a review is required, it will say so in the court order. You may also have to appear for an examination of your activities as the trustee and approval of financial accounts.
If a review is required, you have to apply for a trusteeship review before the date stated in the court order. You will need an updated Capacity Assessment Report for the review.