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Guardian of property responsibilities in Ontario

An individual who becomes a guardian of property on behalf of a person who is deemed to be incapable may have questions about responsibilities. An individual who is unable to handle daily tasks such as paying bills, buying food and making other financial transactions may need a guardian to manage these issues on his or her behalf. A guardian assists in protecting the interests of the person whose property is being managed, but the guardian also protects the interests of those on the other ends of those financial transactions by ensuring that obligations are met.

A guardian may need to make decisions about finances and property. Access to information about the related property is typically authorized. Additionally, access to actual property such as the contents of a safety deposit box is authorized for the purpose of making decisions and managing relevant transactions. However, a guardian is not authorized to make a will.

As a guardian, an individual is subject to legal expectations. For example, personal finances must be kept strictly separate from those of the individual whose property is being managed. Decisions must be made with the comfort and benefit of that individual in mind. An established plan for managing the property may be in place, and this must be followed. It is important to keep the incapable person informed and to include that individual in decisions when appropriate. Additionally, it is important to maintain appropriate communication with family members.

Because the decision-making process and accounting related to an individual's property can become complex, a guardian may find that legal advice can be helpful so that guidelines are observed as that individual's wishes are honored. A lawyer could provide guidance about unclear issues or challenging decisions to be made by a guardian of property.

Source: Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General, "Duties and Powers of a Guardian of Property", August 19, 2014

Source: Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General, "Duties and Powers of a Guardian of Property", August 19, 2014

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