Trusteeship | How it works
Become a trustee so you can make financial decisions for someone who needs help.
If an adult isn’t capable of making decisions, they may be vulnerable. When you become a trustee, the court gives you legal authority to make financial decisions for them.
What’s important to know
Usually a family member or a friend applies to become a trustee, but it can also be a trust company.
If no one is willing or available, the Public Trustee can become the trustee when it’s in the adult’s best interests. If you know someone who needs this support, complete the form below:
Referral form (PDF, 389.4 KB)
When you become a trustee, the court may ask to review the file again in the future.
What does a trustee do?
Trustees make financial decisions. For example, they:
- pay bills
- pay for the adult’s care, their education, etc.
- manage investments
- apply for financial benefits like Old Age Security
If a trustee wants to sell the adult’s home or another piece of real estate, they must have specific permission from the court to do so. If, when you apply to become a trustee, you know you are going to have to sell property, you can include this in your application.
Trustees don’t make decisions about personal matters, like medical treatment and where the adult lives, but guardians can. You can apply to become both a trustee and a guardian at the same time.
Examples of trusteeship?
- If your parent has dementia, they might not be able to manage their money. As their trustee, you could manage their investments, use the money in their bank account to pay for their care, etc.
- If you have a serious brain injury, legally you might not be able to make financial decisions. If you don’t have an enduring power of attorney, a family member or friend may have to apply to become your trustee so they can pay your bills, manage your investments, etc.
How long does it take?
Once you submit a complete and accurate application, it usually takes 3 to 6 months before the paperwork is finalized and the court makes a decision.
If the situation is urgent, contact the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee. An urgent order can usually be approved within a week. The court appoints a temporary trustee and gives them authority to make decisions for up to 90 days. During this time, they can preserve and protect the property but they can’t sell it. When their authority as temporary trustee ends, they can’t continue to make decisions.
Is there a cost?
You need to get a capacity assessment done to determine whether the adult can make their own decisions.
You may also need to pay a court filing fee of $250 when you submit your application.
If these costs are a financial hardship for you, contact the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee for more information.
If you use a lawyer to complete your application, they can charge legal fees.