When important financial decisions need to be made on the behalf of a parent, but they have not signed a Power of Attorney, things can get complicated.
Perhaps your parent has fallen ill or has dementia and can no longer manage their finances on their own.
In order for a family member to grant you Power of Attorney, they must execute the document when they are still mentally capable. They need to understand what it means to execute the Power of Attorney document and the authority they are giving you to make financial decisions on their behalf.
What can I do if my parent has already lost mental capacity?
If your parent has become incapacitated and has not executed a valid Power of Attorney, but needs help managing their finances, you can make a court application to become their trustee.
After you obtain a trusteeship order, you will be able to make financial decisions on their behalf.
Trustees can pay bills, manage investments, apply for financial benefits, and in some cases, sell or refinance real estate.
You can also apply for a guardianship order (which will allow you to make personal and medical decisions on your parent’s behalf) in the same application, if necessary.
How do I apply to be someone's trustee?
The first step in obtaining a trusteeship order is to request a capacity assessment from a qualified professional.
After a capacity assessment report confirms your family member does not have the mental capacity to make certain decisions on their own, you may apply to become their trustee.
You must complete a trusteeship application within six months of the date of the capacity assessment report and submit it to the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee (OPGT) and the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench.
Applying for trusteeship by desk vs. a hearing
Depending on the urgency of the trusteeship application, you may choose to proceed by desk application or by court hearing.
Desk applications are less expensive than a hearing, but it takes more time to receive the order (typically at least six months).
Hearings, on the other hand, can result in an order after 30 days’ notice to those required to be served in the application.
Whether you decide to obtain a trusteeship order through a desk application or a court hearing, Pure Legal can guide you through the specific steps, prepare your application, communicate with the OPGT, and appear in court on your behalf.