Uncertainty lies ahead for those who become incapable of financial decision-making and haven’t made arrangements to appoint an Attorney for property, since no one has an automatic right to make such decisions. A husband or wife, son or daughter, brother or sister, mother or father, – none of them have the right to make decisions for you if you don’t have a Power of Attorney for Property. Instead, someone may have to make a Court Application for permission to be allowed to make financial decisions for you. This person is called a Guardian of Property. The process of appointing a Guardian of Property is expensive, involves hiring a lawyer and is time consuming.
As an alternative to a Court Application, a person who may be incompetent would have to be interviewed or “assessed by someone called an “Assessor”. During such interview the Assessor determines if the person really cannot look after his or her property because they are truly incompetent in making financial decisions. If the Assessor decides that that the person is indeed incompetent, a government agency called the Public Guardian and Trustee (or the PGT) would start to look after the person’s property. The PGT would then be referred to as the person’s Statutory Guardian of Property.
Once the PGT is appointed as a person’s Statutory Guardian of Property, our Toronto wills and estate lawyers can explain to you how you can get the government (partially) out of your affairs. One of your relatives (or a spouse or partner) could replace the PGT as the Statutory Guardian of Property. In this way they could start to make decisions concerning the incompetent person’s property. But first there are certain rules and conditions that have to be followed.
One condition is the person wanting to be appointed has to complete very extensive forms and file a proposal with the PGT (called a “management plan”) showing how the person intends to take care of the incompetent person’s assets and giving a surety bond or security deposit.
The danger for incompetent persons is either having no relatives available or none that will agree to becoming a Statutory Guardian. In such case, the government will continue to look after the person’s property. Non-related persons, not even close friends, are prohibited from applying to the PGT to become Statutory Guardians of Property