What Are The Roles And Responsibilities Of An Estate Trustee?
When an adult lacks the capacity to make their own financial decisions, the court can appoint a trustee to make those decisions on their behalf. Ideally, the trustee will be a friend or relative, but the Office of the Public Trustee can be appointed if there are no other options.
The court will try to find the least intrusive and restrictive method for offering decision-making support to a potentially vulnerable adult. Options such as supported decision-making and co-decision-making should be explored before you apply to the court for a trusteeship order. If you are new to the role of trustee, our Edmonton estate lawyers can help you understand what the roles and responsibilities of an estate trustee are.
Types Of Decisions A Trustee Can Make
A trustee can make decisions relating to:
- the adult’s investments
- paying the adult’s bills and living expenses
- applying for financial benefits (such as pension or workers’ compensation benefits) on behalf of the adult.
A trustee can only sell real estate owned by the adult, including the adult’s home, with the express permission of the court.
Types Of Decisions A Trustee Cannot Make
A trustee cannot make personal decisions affecting the adult, such as decisions relating to:
- healthcare and medical treatment
- living arrangements
If an adult requires support in these areas, the court will appoint an adult guardian. The court may appoint the same person to be both the trustee and the adult guardian of the adult in need of support.
The Responsibilities Of The Trustee
As a newly appointed trustee, you should be familiar with:
- the court order granting the trusteeship
- the court-approved trusteeship plan
- the Adult Guardianship and Trusteeship Act and regulations.
The court order and the trusteeship plan may include restrictions, requirements or permissions (such as the sale of real property) specific to your situation. The Act and regulations set out general requirements for acting as the trustee of a represented adult.
Upon appointment, you should notify the relevant institutions such as:
- insurance companies
- government departments providing financial benefits to the adult
- private pensions
- Canada Revenue Agency
- long-term care home or other residence (if applicable).
They will need a copy of the court order appointing you as trustee.
Make sure that you keep your own money separate from the represented adult’s money. Eventually, you will need to provide an account (either to the court or to the personal representative of the adult’s estate when the adult dies) of your activities as the trustee. Good bookkeeping is vital. It may be worthwhile to use a professional bookkeeper or accountant.
Details regarding your compensation (if you asked for compensation) must be set out in the trusteeship plan that was approved by the court. If you have any out-of-pocket expenses, however, you can take reimbursement directly from the estate without specific approval from the court.
Contact Verhaeghe Law Office’s Edmonton Estate Lawyers Today For Legal Advice On Estate Administration In Alberta
Our Edmonton estate lawyers can help you avoid any pitfalls as you learn about your new role. Contact us today to learn more about what the roles and responsibilities are of an estate trustee. Or give us a call today by dialling (587) 410-2500.
*Disclaimer: Please note that this article is not intended to act as legal advice; it merely provides a general overview of the legal topic. For advice regarding your legal matter, please consult with an Edmonton estate lawyer.