Adult Guardianship and Trusteeship

Important Information Regarding Adult Guardianship and Trusteeship in Alberta

Do you have questions about adult guardianship and trusteeship in Alberta? A good place to start is the Adult Guardianship and Trusteeship Act (AGTA).

This is an Alberta law that became effective in 2009 to provide assistance to adults who need help making decisions.

The AGTA provides a variety of options that range from having another person provide support during the decision-making process to actually allowing another person to make decisions on an adult’s behalf.

If you need information about the Adult Guardianship and Trusteeship Act in Alberta, and how it applies to you, reach out to us online today or call (780) 760-7234.

When Does an Adult Need a Guardian or a Trustee?

An adult may need a guardian or a trustee if they’ve lost the capacity to make decisions on their own. This loss of capacity may be the result of a degenerative disorder.

However, a degenerative disorder is not an exclusive qualifier. The law in Alberta defines capacity using two pieces of criteria. Here they are:

  • An ability to understand information that is relevant to a decision.
  • An ability to appreciate the reasonably foreseeable consequences of making or not making a decision.

Alberta law actually measures capacity on a spectrum. Each decision is also looked at on the basis of its long-term impact.

Here’s a list of some of the decisions covered under the AGTA:

  • Health care
  • Living arrangements
  • Participation in social activities
  • Participation in training and employment
  • Participation in legal proceedings
  • Any financial matter related to buying, selling or managing property
  • Not every case looks the same

It may be decided that an adult has the mental capacity to be the decision-maker when it comes to making personal decisions – something like signing up for a yoga class.

However, a capacity assessment might show that this same adult is not capable of making major decisions regarding financial matters.

A guardian typically assists with non-financial decision-making such as deciding what type of medical treatment to receive. A trustee typically assists with financial decision-making such as investing or sale of assets. However, it is possible for the same person to be appointed both a guardian and a trustee.

What’s the Relationship Between an Enduring Power of Attorney and Trusteeship?

You might be wondering if the AGTA applies if there is an Enduring Power of Attorney in place.

The thing to remember is that an Enduring Power of Attorney must be set up while an adult still has capacity. An Enduring Power of Attorney will come into effect when an adult loses capacity. There is no need for a trusteeship in this case.

The named attorney will be permitted to step in to begin making financial decisions on behalf of the represented adult without any further legal work.

A trusteeship under the AGTA will only be necessary if no Enduring Power of Attorney has been set up. To obtain trusteeship, you will require an Order from the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta.

What’s the Relationship Between a Personal Directive and Guardianship?

A Personal Directive must also be done while an adult still has capacity.

Only when an adult loses capacity will a Personal Directive become effective. A Personal Directive offers a tapered way of moving an adult away from the role of primary decision-maker as mental capacity deteriorates.

The adult will still be able to get a supported decision-making authorization or order for collaborative decision making if capacity is still there. However, the agent named in the Personal Directive will begin to make decisions regarding personal matters on behalf of the adult once capacity is lost.

There is no need for a guardianship order when a Personal Directive has been set up. A guardianship order under the AGTA will only be necessary if no Personal Directive is in place. To obtain guardianship, you will require an Order from the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta.

How Are Guardians and Trustees Compensated?

A guardian is not entitled to any compensation under the AGTA however they can certainly be reimbursed for any out-of-pocket expenses they have incurred while carrying out their duties.

On the other hand, the AGTA outlines a very specific schedule which can determine a trustee’s compensation.

Alternatively, a Court can also set a trustee’s compensation based on the levels of time, care and effort put forth. In addition to compensation, a trustee may also be reimbursed for any out-of-pocket expenses that they have incurred while carrying out their duties.

Call our law office today at (780) 760-7234, and we’ll answer all of your questions about formally applying to become a guardian or a trustee.

What Is the Office of Public Guardian and Trustee?

The Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee (OPGT) provides services, tools and support for personal and financial matters to vulnerable adults and their families in Alberta. The OPGT works mostly with adults, but they also help manage funds for minors in special situations.

The OPGT can become a guardian or a trustee for an adult who does not have any other close relatives that can step in to assist with decision-making.

Do You Have Questions About Adult Guardianship and Trusteeship in Alberta?

Bring all of your questions about trusteeship and guardianship to our law office. We’ll be happy to answer all your questions as we walk you through what can be a very complex and emotional situation.

Use our Contact Us page or call (780) 760-7234 to book a consultation with our office.

Adult Guardian helping a senior complete a form

A guardian typically assists with non-financial decision-making such as deciding what type of medical treatment to receive. A trustee typically assists with financial decision-making such as investing or sale of assets. However, it is possible for the same person to be appointed both a guardian and a trustee.