Overview

If an adult isn’t capable of making financial decisions, they may be vulnerable. When you become a trustee, the court gives you legal authority to make financial decisions for them. A trustee:

  • uses the adult’s money to pay their:
    • bills
    • care
    • education
  • manages their investments
  • applies for the adult’s financial benefits like Old Age Security

A trustee can be a:

  • family member
  • friend
  • trust company
  • public trustee

Trustees can't make decisions about personal matters like:

  • medical treatment
  • where the adult lives

Adult guardianship

For legal authority to make personal, non-financial decisions for an adult, learn about Adult guardianship.

You can apply to become both a trustee and a guardian at the same time.

Is trusteeship needed

If the adult has limited financial assets and only needs help managing income from a government program or pension, such as Old Age Security, informal trusteeship might be a better option.

An adult with an enduring power of attorney agreement doesn’t need a trustee; however, some agreements end when an adult loses their capacity to make decisions. Read the agreement carefully.

How long does it take

To become a trustee, it usually takes 3 to 6 months before the:

  • paperwork is finalized
  • court makes a decision

If the situation is urgent:

The court appoints a temporary trustee who:

  • has the authority to make decisions for up to 90 days
  • can preserve and protect property
  • can’t sell property

Background checks

For all trusteeship applications, the OPGT does a:

  • reference check
  • criminal record check
  • credit check

If you have concerns about these checks and how they’ll impact your eligibility, contact the OPGT.

Real estate

A trustee must have specific permission from the court to sell the adult’s:

  • home
  • other real estate

If you know you’re going to have to sell property, you can include this in your application.

Is there a cost

If you use a lawyer to complete your application, they can charge legal fees.

You need to get a capacity assessment done to determine whether the adult can make their own decisions. The capacity assessor may charge a fee for the assessment.

You pay a court filing fee of $250 when you submit your application.

If these costs are a financial hardship for you, contact the OPGT.

Trusteeship review

When you become a trustee, the court may ask for a trusteeship review in the future.

When there's no one else

If no one is willing or available to help, or to have the OPGT become the public trustee when it’s in the adult’s best interests, fill out this form:

Referral form (PDF, 390 KB)

Become a trustee without a hearing

Follow this process if you:

  • don’t think your application will be opposed
  • your application isn’t time sensitive

With this process:

  • you don’t have to appear in court
  • the judge makes a decision based on the information you submit

You may need a lawyer and an accountant to prepare the trusteeship application if the adult:

  • owns land
  • has multiple bank accounts
  • has investments

Step 1. Get a capacity assessment

Have a professional assess whether the adult can make decisions on their own. This is called a capacity assessment. It can be completed by a:

The capacity assessment must be dated sometime in the 6 months before you submit your application.

Step 2. Fill out the application forms

If you want to apply for trusteeship

Fill out all the forms in this package:
Application for New Trusteeship Order (PDF, 796 KB)

If you want to apply for trusteeship and guardianship

Fill out all the forms in this package:
Application for New Guardianship and Trusteeship Order (PDF, 1.05 MB)

Step 3. Fill out the background check forms

You must:

Step 4. Submit your application package

Your application package is made up of the documents from the above steps:

  • capacity assessment
  • application forms
  • background check forms

When you submit your application:

  • include a cheque or money order for the $250 court filing fee made out to the Government of Alberta
  • don’t include cash
  • your cheque won’t be cashed for 30 to 50 days

If you put the application package together on your own:

After you apply

A review officer from the OPGT will:

  • meet with the adult to ask them what they think about the application
  • prepare a report for the court
  • send a copy of the report to you
  • send a letter to:
    • the people listed as interested parties in the application
    • anyone else they think should know about the application

If someone doesn’t support your application, they can request a court hearing to oppose it.

Become a trustee with a hearing

Follow this process if:

  • you think your application will be opposed
  • your application is time-sensitive
  • the adult has a variety of financial assets

With a hearing:

  • you or your lawyer must appear in court
  • the application is discussed before a judge
  • the judge makes a decision by considering the:
    • comments of the people at the hearing
    • information in the application package

You may need a lawyer and an accountant to prepare the trusteeship application if the adult:

  • owns land
  • has multiple bank accounts
  • has investments

Step 1. Get a capacity assessment

Have a professional assess whether the adult can make decisions on their own. This is called a capacity assessment. It can be completed by a:

The capacity assessment must be dated sometime in the 6 months before you submit your application.

Step 2. Fill out the application forms

If you want to apply for trusteeship

Fill out these forms:

If you want to apply for trusteeship and guardianship

Fill out these forms:

Step 3. Fill out the background check forms

You must:

Step 4. Submit your application package

Your application package is made up of the documents from the above steps:

  • capacity assessment
  • application forms
  • background check forms

When you submit your application:

  • include a cheque or money order for the $250 court filing fee made out to the Government of Alberta
  • don't include cash
  • your cheque won’t be cashed for 30 to 50 days

You or your lawyer:

  • submit your application to the clerk of the Court of Queen’s Bench
  • set a hearing date
  • notify all the parties involved

A copy of the application package you filed with the court must be served to the OPGT at least 30 days before the hearing date. If you:

  • are working with a lawyer, they’ll do this for you
  • put the application package together on your own, contact your local OPGT for instructions

After you apply

A review officer from the OPGT will:

  • meet with the adult to ask them what they think about the application
  • prepare a report for the court
  • send a copy of the report to you

You’re responsible to notify all interested parties about the hearing date.

When trusteeship is granted

Copies of the court order are sent to:

  • you
  • the adult
  • other interested parties

The court order identifies:

  • the trustee
  • any alternative trustees
  • the areas the trustee has authority

It may also include a:

  • trusteeship review deadline
  • date for examination and approval of trusteeship accounts

Decision-maker notices

If you’re a family member or friend of an adult who needs support, you’ll be notified by mail when someone files an application to become or continue being a trustee.

After you get a notice, you’ll have the option to:

  • support the application by ignoring the notice
  • oppose the application by responding to the notice

Publications

Decision-Making Options: Adult Guardianship and the Trusteeship Act

Tips for Newly Appointed Trustees

Checklist: What to bring to your appointment (PDF, 380 KB)

Contact

Find an OPGT office near you