Provincial legislation is periodically updated. In Alberta, a revised Wills and Succession Act came into effect in 2012, an updated Estate Administration Act was passed in 2015 and now an initiative is underway to co-ordinate the Trustee legislation across Canada.
The Alberta Trustee Act is the provincial legislation governing the administration of trusts. A trust is created when a settlor transfers property into a trust either during their life or on death to be managed according to their wishes as expressed in the trust document. A trustee holds title to and manages the assets for the benefit of another person, the beneficiary. The trustee must act in the best interests of the beneficiary.
In 2007, the Uniform Law Conference of Canada began work on a Uniform Trustee Act (UTA) for adoption across each of the provinces and territories. The Alberta Law Reform Institute has reviewed the UTA and issued their recommendations to Albertans, which generally are to accept the proposed recommendations of the UTA, with specific exceptions. These recommendations are found in Report for Discussion No. 28 A New Trustee Act of Alberta.
There are 74 recommendations, but some of the more impacting ones are:
- A two tiered standard of care for trustees, where professionals will be held to a higher standard.
- The adoption of a total return strategy, versus an emphasis on income or growth.
- Allow trustees to make decision by majority rule.
- Allow a trustee to make payment from capital to a beneficiary with a vested interest without court approval.
- Where all beneficiaries are capable adults and consent, they should be able to vary and terminate the trust.
- Trustee liability and delegation to an agent.
- Trustee compensation.
Anyone in the position of trustee or a beneficiary of a trust may want to familiarize themselves with the proposed recommendations and any new legislation that comes into effect.
If you would like more information or have any questions, feel free to contact us at 780.466.6204, or click here to send us an email.
Thanks to Chris Turnbull of The Index House for providing this article.
The Index House is a division of Polaris Financial Inc.