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How to become a guardian of property in Ontario

In an ideal world, every person will enjoy good health and a sound mind until they pass away. Unfortunately, that doesn't happen for some people. Should a person no longer be able to make decisions about his or her own finances due to mental incapacity, it may be necessary to appoint a guardian to manage his or her affairs. Here is a brief summary of guardianship of property in Ontario.

If a person becomes mentally incapable of making sound financial decisions, and he or she did not grant power of attorney to anyone while still mentally able, appointing a guardian is a logical next step. A guardian can see to the protection of that person's assets, and take care of his or her financial obligations, such as bill payments, making purchases and managing investments. The guardian cannot change a will, or make personal decisions on behalf of the incapacitated individual, however.

In order to become the guardian, the interested party will need to apply to the court. The court will review the application and assess whether the applicant is suitable. Factors considered may include how close the guardian is to the person, the views of other people in the life of the incapable person and if the applicant is likely to be able to manage the finances responsibly. The applicant must submit a plan showing, in detail, how he or she will handle the income, expenses and debts of the subject of the application. 

To become a guardian is to take on a serious responsibility. Anyone wishing to do so no doubt cares very much for the person whom he or she seeks to protect. In order to have the best chance of a successful application, it may be a good idea to speak with an Ontario lawyer for assistance. 

Source: Ministry of the Attorney General, "Becoming a Guardian of Property", April 24, 2017

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