Decision-making authority

An adult who has lost capacity to make decisions needs support. A court order may be needed for someone to help the adult by acting as:

  • an adult trustee for their financial decisions
  • an adult guardian for their personal decisions
  • both trustee and guardian for all their decisions

If you become a trustee, the court gives you legal authority to make financial decisions for the adult.

Who needs a trustee

Adults who need a trustee

  • are 18 years of age or older
  • have had a capacity assessment completed indicating they lack capacity to make financial decisions
  • less intrusive and less restrictive options would not adequately protect the adult’s financial interests
  • do not have an enduring power of attorney and need someone to make financial decisions for them
  • do not have the capacity to make a power of attorney
  • have assets or financial interests in need of protection

Minors who will need a trustee when they become adults

  • will be 18 years old in the next year
  • will need someone to make their financial decisions after they become an adult

If you want the court order to go into effect when the minor turns 18, you should apply as soon as possible after the minor turns 17.

Just because someone disagrees with an adult’s decisions does not mean they do not have the ability to make their own decisions. If they fully understand the impact of a decision, they are probably capable of making it.

What a trustee does

A trustee:

  • manages the adult’s money to pay their:
    • bills (daily and recurring expenses)
    • accommodation and care charges as needed
    • education and medical-related expenses
    • other needs specific to the adult
  • manages the adult’s investments, real estate and personal property
  • applies for the adult’s financial benefits like Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH ), Old Age Security and Alberta Seniors Benefit
  • files the adult’s income tax return

Trustees cannot make decisions about personal matters like:

  • medical treatment
  • where the adult lives

Is trusteeship needed?

You may want to look into other options for financial decision-making, such as:

Adult guardianship

You may also want to consider personal decision-making options, such as:

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

How long it will take

To become a trustee, it usually takes 6 months – from the time your paperwork is ready to be submitted to court – before the court makes a decision.

Urgent situation

If the decision is urgent – in immediate danger of suffering serious financial loss – you can apply for an urgent order.

Before you apply, ensure the decision is truly urgent and take into account other considerations by reviewing this document:

Urgent Guardianship and Trustee Orders

To apply for an urgent order:

Step 1: Fill out the forms

You must fill out these forms:

Form 15: Affidavit of Applicant (PDF, 45 KB)

Form 39: Notice of Application and Hearing (PDF, 104 KB)

Form 18: Order (PDF, 174 KB)

Step 2: File your documents

You or your lawyer will:

  • submit your forms to the clerk of the Court of Queen’s Bench
  • set a hearing date
  • submit the fee, payable to ‘Government of Alberta’ for court processing fees - the clerk of the Court will be able to tell you the amount and how to make payment

If you do not have a lawyer, contact the Law Society of Alberta’s Lawyer Referral Service.

The court may appoint a temporary trustee who has the authority to make decisions. This trustee:

  • has the authority to make decisions for up to 90 days
  • may be able to preserve and protect property
  • cannot sell property

If the adult will require trusteeship decision-making when the urgent order expires, a full trusteeship application is

Real estate

A trustee, other than the Public 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 must apply for this authority in your application.

Is there a cost

There are costs for different parts of this process:

  • legal fees – if you use a lawyer to complete the application
  • capacity assessment – charged by the capacity assessor for the completion of the assessment
  • court filing fees – up to $250 for the court to process your documentation
  • background check fee – for the background check to be completed so the results can be provided to the court with your application

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

Requirements to be a trustee

To be a trustee, you must:

  • be 18 years of age or older
  • consent to being a trustee
  • consider the views and wishes of the adult
  • act in the best interest of the adult
  • be suitable to be appointed as trustee
  • complete a criminal record check, credit check and reference checks – following the OPGT’s process
  • provide a bond or ask the court to dispense with the bond if the proposed trustee or alternate trustee is not ordinarily a resident of Alberta

When there is no one else

If no one is willing or available to help, the Public Trustee may consider becoming the trustee if appropriate.

To make a referral to the Public Trustee, fill out this form:

 

PDF form issues

Fillable PDF forms do not open properly on some mobile devices and web browsers. To fill in and save the form:

  1. Save the PDF form to your computer – click or right-click the link and download the form.
  2. Open the PDF form with Adobe Reader. Fill it in and save it.

OPGT Referral (PDF, 356 KB)

The Public Trustee will consider being the trustee for an adult if:

  • the capacity assessment report states that the person does not have capacity to make financial decisions
  • less intrusive options like informal trusteeship would not protect the adult’s financial interests
  • it is in the adult’s best interest
  • no other person, including a trust corporation, is likely to apply to become trustee within a reasonable time
  • the adult is likely to suffer serious financial loss if a trustee is not appointed within a reasonable time

Your responsibilities as an adult’s trustee

As a trustee, you are authorized to make financial decisions for the adult.  This means you also have a responsibility to:

  • act in the adult’s best interest
  • only make decisions that the court order allows you to make – and according to the submitted trusteeship plan
  • pay for things from the adult’s funds that the adult requires for care, support and education
  • act honestly and reasonably
  • exercise the care, skill and diligence that a reasonably prudent person would exercise in managing their own finances
  • make reasonable efforts to determine whether the adult has a will and keep it safe
  • keep the adult’s financial matters and accounts separate from those of the trustee
  • keep good records, including receipts, bills and statements, for all transactions – these may be required by the court for an examination and approval of accounts

A trustee has a responsibility to:

  • only access information that has been authorized and is needed for a decision
  • keep personal information about the adult safe from unauthorized access, use or disclosure

Apply to be an adult’s trustee

To be an adult’s trustee – and to ensure you follow the correct process and complete the correct paperwork – you need to consider which way to apply:

  1. You need to consider which decisions the adult needs assistance with:
    • financial decisions only (trusteeship)
    • financial and personal decisions (trusteeship and guardianship)
  2. You need to decide to apply without a hearing (desk application) or with a hearing:
Without a Hearing (Desk Application) With a Hearing
  • if you don’t expect anyone to disagree with the application
  • not time sensitive
  • you don’t need to appear in court
  • the judge makes a decision based on the paperwork you submit
  • someone might disagree with the application
  • time sensitive
  • you or your lawyer appears in court
  • application is discussed with the judge
  • the judge makes a decision based on the paperwork you submit and the discussion in court
  1. You need to decide to apply for one of these options:
    • trusteeship – desk application
    • trusteeship and guardianship – desk application
    • trusteeship – with a hearing
    • trusteeship and guardianship – with a hearing

To start the application process

Select the one option below that best meets the adult’s situation:

  • Trusteeship – desk application

    You may want to contact a fee-for-service provider or a lawyer and an accountant to prepare the trusteeship application.

    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

    Trouble opening or completing PDF forms?

    Fillable forms do not open properly on some mobile devices and web browsers. To fill in and save this form:

    1. Click on the PDF link to save it on your computer.
    2. Launch Adobe Reader.
    3. Open the PDF from within Adobe Reader. You can now fill and save your form.

    Download the Guide to Applying for Adult Trusteeship (PDF, 196 KB).

    Individual forms option

    Fill out these forms:

    Form 14: Application (PDF, 120 KB)

    Form 15: Affidavit of Applicant (PDF, 91 KB)

    Form 34: Trusteeship Plan (PDF, 115 KB)

    Form 27: Consent of Proposed Trustee (Individual) (PDF, 34 KB)

    Form 29: Consent of Proposed Alternate Trustee (Individual) (PDF, 33 KB)

    Form 30: Personal References (PDF, 30 KB)

    Form 37: Inventory (PDF, 94 KB)

    • You may complete the Inventory form at the same time as your application OR you can undertake to complete the Inventory within 6 months after the Trustee Order has been granted.

    Bundled forms option

    Download and fill out the forms in this bundle:

    Application Bundle (PDF, 3.29 MB)

    Step 3. Submit your application package

    Submit your application to your local OPGT office.

    When you submit your application

    Courthouse staff will contact you by email to request electronic payment by credit card or VISA-debit card of the $250 court filing fee.

    If you do not wish to pay electronically:

    • include a cheque, bank draft, or money order for the $250 court filing fee made out to the Government of Alberta with your application
    • your cheque will be cashed when your application is submitted to the court, which may take up to 6 months

    After you apply

    OPGT staff will:

    • send a Notice of Application to:
      • the people listed as interested parties in the application
      • anyone else they think should know about the application
    • contact each proposed or alternate decision-maker about the background check process and cost
    • talk 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

    If someone does not support your application, they can request a court hearing to oppose it.

  • Trusteeship and guardianship – desk application

    You may want to contact a fee-for-service provider or a lawyer and an accountant to prepare the trusteeship application.

    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

    Trouble opening or completing PDF forms?

    Fillable forms do not open properly on some mobile devices and web browsers. To fill in and save this form:

    1. Click on the PDF link to save it on your computer.
    2. Launch Adobe Reader.
    3. Open the PDF from within Adobe Reader. You can now fill and save your form.

    Download the Guide to Applying for Adult Guardianship and Trusteeship (PDF, 213 KB).

    Individual forms option

    Fill out these forms separately:

    Form 14: Application (PDF, 120 KB)

    Form 15: Affidavit of Applicant (PDF, 91 KB)

    Form 32: Guardianship Plan (PDF, 60 KB)

    Form 34: Trusteeship Plan (PDF, 115 KB)

    Form 24: Consent of Proposed Guardian (Individual) (PDF, 33 KB)

    Form 26: Consent of Proposed Alternate Guardian (Individual) (PDF, 33 KB)

    Form 27: Consent of Proposed Trustee (Individual) (PDF, 34 KB)

    Form 29: Consent of Proposed Alternate Trustee (Individual) (PDF, 33 KB)

    Form 30: Personal References (PDF, 30 KB)

    Form 37: Inventory (PDF, 94 KB)

    • You may complete the Inventory at the same time as your application OR you can undertake to complete the Inventory within 6 months after the Trustee Order has been granted.

    Bundled forms option

    Download and fill out the forms in this bundle:

    Application Bundle (PDF, 3.29 MB)

    Step 3. Submit your application package

    Submit your application to your local OPGT office.

    When you submit your application

    Courthouse staff will contact you by email to request electronic payment by credit card or VISA-debit card of the $250 court filing fee.

    If you do not wish to pay electronically:

    • include a cheque, bank draft, or money order for the $250 court filing fee made out to the Government of Alberta with your application
    • your cheque will be cashed when your application is submitted to the court, which may take up to 6 months

    After you apply

    OPGT staff will:

    • send a Notice of Application to:
      • the people listed as interested parties in the application
      • anyone else they think should know about the application
    • contact each proposed or alternate decision-maker about the background check process and cost
    • talk 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

    If someone does not support your application, they can request a court hearing to oppose it.

  • Trusteeship – with a hearing

    You may want to contact a fee-for-service provider or a lawyer and an accountant to prepare the trusteeship application.

    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

    Trouble opening or completing PDF forms?

    Fillable forms do not open properly on some mobile devices and web browsers. To fill in and save this form:

    1. Click on the PDF link to save it on your computer.
    2. Launch Adobe Reader.
    3. Open the PDF from within Adobe Reader. You can now fill and save your form.

    Download the Guide to Applying for Adult Trusteeship (PDF, 196 KB).

    Individual forms option

    Fill out these forms:

    Form 14: Application (PDF, 120 KB)

    Form 15: Affidavit of Applicant (PDF, 91 KB)

    Form 34: Trusteeship Plan (PDF, 115 KB)

    Form 27: Consent of Proposed Trustee (Individual) (PDF, 34 KB)

    Form 29: Consent of Proposed Alternate Trustee (Individual) (PDF, 33 KB)

    Form 30: Personal References (PDF, 30 KB)

    Form 37: Inventory (PDF, 94 KB)

    • You may complete the Inventory form at the same time as your application OR you can undertake to complete the Inventory within 6 months after the Trustee Order has been granted.

    Form 17: Notice of Application and Hearing (PDF, 94 KB)

    Bundled forms option

    Download and fill out the forms in this bundle:

    Application Bundle (PDF, 3.29 MB)

    Step 3. Submit your application package

    You or your lawyer:

    • submit your application to the clerk of the Court of Queen’s Bench
    • set a hearing date
    • send a Notice of Application and Hearing to all the interested parties

    When you submit your application:

    • include a cheque or money order for $250 court filing fee made out to the Government of Alberta
    • do not include cash
    • additional payment options may be available directly through the Court of Queen’s Bench

    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’re working with a lawyer, they’ll do this for you.

    After you apply

    OPGT staff will:

    • contact each proposed or alternate decision-maker about the background check process and cost
    •  talk 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.

    If an interested party opposed the application, they or their lawyer must attend the hearing to voice their concerns.

  • Trusteeship and guardianship – with a hearing

    You may want to contact a fee-for-service provider or a lawyer and an accountant to prepare the trusteeship application.

    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

    Trouble opening or completing PDF forms?

    Fillable forms do not open properly on some mobile devices and web browsers. To fill in and save this form:

    1. Click on the PDF link to save it on your computer.
    2. Launch Adobe Reader.
    3. Open the PDF from within Adobe Reader. You can now fill and save your form.

    Download the Guide to Applying for Adult Guardianship and Trusteeship (PDF, 213 KB).

    Individual forms option

    Fill out these forms separately:

    Form 14: Application (PDF, 120 KB)

    Form 15: Affidavit of Applicant (PDF, 91 KB)

    Form 32: Guardianship Plan (PDF, 60 KB)

    Form 34: Trusteeship Plan (PDF, 115 KB)

    Form 24: Consent of Proposed Guardian (Individual) (PDF, 33 KB)

    Form 26: Consent of Proposed Alternate Guardian (Individual) (PDF, 33 KB)

    Form 27: Consent of Proposed Trustee (Individual) (PDF, 34 KB)

    Form 29: Consent of Proposed Alternate Trustee (Individual) (PDF, 33 KB)

    Form 30: Personal References (PDF, 30 KB)

    Form 37: Inventory (PDF, 94 KB)

    • You may complete the Inventory at the same time as your application OR you can undertake to complete the Inventory within 6 months after the Trustee Order has been granted.

    Form 17: Notice of Application and Hearing (PDF, 70 KB)

    Bundled forms option

    Download and fill out the forms in this bundle:

    Application Bundle (PDF, 3.29 MB)

    Step 3. Submit your application package

    You or your lawyer:

    • submit your application to the clerk of the Court of Queen’s Bench
    • set a hearing date
    • send a Notice of Application and Hearing to all the interested parties

    When you submit your application:

    • include a cheque or money order for $250 court filing fee made out to the Government of Alberta
    • do not include cash
    • additional payment options may be available directly through the Court of Queen’s Bench

    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’re working with a lawyer, they’ll do this for you.

    After you apply

    OPGT staff will:

    • contact each proposed or alternate decision-maker about the background check process and cost
    •  talk 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.

    If an interested party opposes the application, they or their lawyer must attend the hearing to voice their concerns.

When a court order is granted

The newly appointed trustee is legally responsible to provide a copy of the court order to:

  • the adult
  • other interested parties
  • the OPGT

Read the court order carefully to learn:

  • who has been appointed
  • what authority has been granted
  • when the order needs to be reviewed
  • the date for examination and approval of trusteeship accounts
  • any other provisions

Publications

Decision-Making Options: Adult Guardianship and the Trusteeship Act

Tips for Newly Appointed Trustees

Contact

Find an OPGT office near you

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