What is Alberta’s New Trustee Act for Estate Management?

What is Alberta’s New Trustee Act for Estate Management?

On February 1st, 2023, a revised Trustee Act came into force in Alberta. The Act addresses trust laws, and the new revisions aspire to clarify the process as well as expedite the process of trust creation and management. One of its key goals is to reduce the need for court involvement. Where businesses are involved, the new Trustee Act aims to improve the trust management process. It likewise strives to simplify the burden of administration for beneficiaries.

Managing an estate can be a tremendous challenge, potentially requiring an amount of work comparable to a full-time job. With the help of our Edmonton estate administration lawyers, you may be able to streamline the process. From assisting with probates and wills to helping you navigate the legal requirements of a trust, contact us today to schedule a consultation and discuss how we may be of service to you.

What is a Trust?

A trust is a legal arrangement that can be used in estate planning, in order to ensure the ongoing financial protection of a person, a group of people, or a company. A person or company known as “the settlor” gives money to a person or company (“the trustee”) to hold and keep safe until such a time as it may be given to another person or company (“the beneficiary”). 

If you are interested in setting up a trust, or have any questions or concerns about legal planning associated with your estate, contact our Edmonton estate administration lawyers today to schedule a consultation.

Key Differences Between Previous and Current Trustee Act

The preceding Trustee Act had a predominant focus on trusts associated with the last will and testament of an individual. The revised new Trustee Act addresses the needs of businesses as well, expanding the legislature’s scope beyond trusts created under a will. This includes real estate investment trusts created to provide funding for land development, as well as royalty trusts.  

Overview of New Trustee Act Provisions

Some of the key revisions featured in Alberta’s new Trustee Act include:

  • An update to a trustee’s duty of care before beneficiaries, aiming to improve consumer protection. This renders the new Trustee Act consistent with the Estate Administration Act. 
  • Explicit requirements that a trustee provide beneficiaries with reports, and respond in reasonable time frames. The goal is to increase transparency and reduce the costs of trust administration, as well as the need for court intervention.
  • Guidelines for where a trustee is temporarily incapacitated, absent, or otherwise unable to perform their duties. Under the new provisions, a temporary trustee may step in.
  • Guidelines that an unfit trustee may be removed from their duties.
  • A formal process by which a trustee who wishes to resign from their duties may do so.
  • Provisions for navigating decision-making among multiple trustees: they may enact decisions and perform their duties by majority.
  • Provisions for the recognition, validation and regulation of non-charitable purpose trusts.
  • Where courts are involved, the allowance of evidence from outside the trust document in order to determine the intentions of a settlor.

Kinds of Trusts

Trusts available to prospective settlors in Alberta come in a range of models. The kind that may be right for you will depend on a variety of factors specific to your case. Contact our Edmonton estate administration lawyers to discuss your circumstances in detail.

What are the various types of trusts available for estate planning in Alberta? The main two types are a testamentary trust, which comes into action upon the death of the settlor, and an Inter Vivos trust, which may be enacted while the settlor is still alive.

Inter Vivos trusts can be a useful tool in maximizing efficiency related to taxes, as well as minimizing Alberta executor fees. Contact an Edmonton estate administration lawyer today and learn how we might be able to help you.

Contact Our Edmonton Estate Administration Lawyers Today for a Consultation

Whether you are contemplating opening a trust, would like to know more about the responsibilities of a trustee, the rights of a beneficiary, or more, our Edmonton estate administration lawyers would be happy to discuss the possibilities with you. We may be able to help you gain an understanding of changes in Alberta’s new Trustee Act for estate management, and address any concerns you may have. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.

** Please note, this article is intended as a general overview on the subject of estate law, and is not intended to be legal advice. If you are seeking legal advice, please consult with an Alberta estate administration lawyer.

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