Public Trustee, Public and Official Guardian
What is the Office of the Public Trustee, Public and Official Guardian?
The Office of the Public Trustee, Public and Official Guardian is a provincial office set up to protect the interest of the most vulnerable people in Prince Edward Island. Our goal is to safeguard and uphold the legal and financial interest of clients and personal care interest of adults needing assistance in decision making.
Who is the Public Trustee?
The Public Trustee is a person appointed by the Provincial Government to help incapable people who are unable to look after their own financial affairs. The Public Trustee gets involved when you have no trusted family or friends who can do this for you.
Who is the Public Guardian?
The Public Guardian is a person appointed by the Provincial Government to help incapable people to look after their own personal affairs. The Public Guardian gets involved when there are no trusted family or friends who can do this for you.
Who is the Official Guardian?
The Official Guardian is a person who shall act as a Litigation Guardian of minors and other persons deemed incapable where required under an Act or the Rules of Court.
What can our office do for you?
As an office of last resort our Office can provide the help needed to those who lack legal capacity and as well may be called upon in estate matters or other court matters requiring legal representation. Not to limit the generality of the foregoing the Office will:
- protect the Legal and Financial Interest of Children under the age of 18 years
- establish and maintain infant Trust
- protect the legal, financial and personal and health care interest of vulnerable adults who require assistance in decision making
- act as an independent interest for minors or persons with disabilities on insurance settlements or in court matters with financial implications to the person
- administer the estates of missing or deceased persons
In carrying out the duties under legislation the office will represent a person or an estate for as long as is required. Where possible and in the clients best interest, staff work closely with the client, any known family and with care providers to ensure the wishes of the client are respected and that individuals remain as independent as possible.
Third Party or Public Trustee/Guardian Appointment
The Public Trustee, Public and Official Guardian Office can provide help to those who lack legal capacity in making decisions whether relating to finances or personal matters. The following sets out all those findings that are required before a person may be considered as requiring the services of a third party or our office as an office of last resort.
When a person is:
- found to not have the ability to make decisions in his or her own best interest
- putting themselves or others at financial or personal risk
- determined by two doctors to be making bad decisions due to mental health or other debilitating issues
- determined by two doctors to not understand the consequences of his or her actions
A third party may apply or our office may be called upon through the law to assist the person with financial or personal matters either through statutory appointment or through a court application to take on these duties. In the circumstances described the law allows for family or friends to take steps to help a person and it is expected by our office that our office will only get called upon to assist when there are no family of friends ready, willing or capable of taking on the task of looking after a vulnerable persons issues. The PTPGAOG is always to be seen as an office of last resort.
What services does the office provide?
Manage Property and Financial Matters – Make decisions about property, investments and finances of the person including managing money placed in trust. The Public Trustee may act as an Attorney under the Powers of Attorney Act or be appointed by the court as a Trustee or as Committee of the Estate of a Person.
Make Personal care Decisions – As a court appointed Guardian the office can make decisions about a person’s health care, medical treatment, residency or other personal matters.
Administer or Execute Estates - This involves administering the Estate of a PEI resident who has died leaving assets within the Province when there is no one in a representative capacity who can do so.
Act as a Litigation Guardian – This involves handling the legal matters of an incompetent person where there is no one else with the ability to do so.
Review Insurance Settlements for Minors or Persons under Disability – This duty provides for an independent third party review by the Official Guardian of a settlement on behalf a minor or person under disability to ensure that a settlement appears proper in the circumstances. The review will also look at the legal fees associated with the settlement.
Note: This office cannot become involved in mediating family disputes or investigating cases of financial physical or mental abuse but will refer the party to the appropriate party.
Is there a cost for this service?
The Public Trustee Office is funded in part by fees under the Public Trustee Fees Regulations . The fees regulation can be found at Public Trustee Fees Regulations.
Who can I contact for more information?
Office of the Public Trustee, Public and Official Guardian
1 Harbourside Access Road
PO Box 2000, Charlottetown
Prince Edward Island
Canada, C1A 7N8
Phone: (902) 368-6281
Fax: (902) 368-5335