The Basics of Guardianship
• A guardian is an individual who is authorized to make decisions on
behalf of another person who is incapable of making those
decisions himself or herself.
Types of Guardianship
• A guardian may be appointed in one or both of the following
– Property – management of one's financial affairs, real and personal
property, bank accounts, business interests, etc.
– Personal Care – management of one's healthcare, including decisions
involving where the person will live, any supportive care, etc.
• In certain circumstances, the Public Guardian and Trustee will
automatically become the statutory guardian of property for an
incapable person, without the need for an appointment by the
court. The Substitute Decisions Act outlines the requirements for
the appointment of a statutory guardian, as well as termination of
the appointment and replacement by the person’s spouse or other
• An individual can apply to the court for appointment as a guardian,
whether there is a valid Power of Attorney in place or not.
• The proposed guardian of property and/or personal care should
provide evidence in support of the person’s incapacity and explain
why the proposed guardian is a suitable candidate for
appointment. Often, the evidence of incapacity will be in the form
of a capacity assessment by a qualified capacity assessor.
• Depending on the nature of the guardianship application, the
materials should include the following:
– A Guardianship Plan that outlines the plan for management of the
incapable person's personal care, including where he/she will live and
matters affecting employment and education; and/or
– A Management Plan that details how the incapable person's finances will
be managed on his/her behalf, including a list of any known assets
• The Plan(s) included as part of a guardianship application should
reflect the best interests of the incapable person.
Record Keeping Obligations
• It is important that guardians, especially guardians of property,
maintain complete records of all decisions made on the incapable
• Guardians of property are normally required under the court orders
appointing them to submit their records to the court to "pass their
accounts" on a periodic basis following their appointment.