The Public Guardian and Trustee of British Columbia (the “PGT”) plays many roles in administering and overseeing matters for individuals who lack the ability to do so. For example, the PGT may act as the Committee of the Estate, managing the financial affairs of someone who is unable to do so himself. The PGT also can manage the Estate of a missing person, review the accounts of private Committees, act as a Representative under the Representation Agreement Act, administer an Estate, and act as litigation guardian in any number of types of claims.
In contested Committeeship applications, where family members are unable to agree on which of them will act as the Committee, lawyers will often suggest a neutral third party be considered to act as the Committee of the Estate. Trust companies and the PGT are two of the commonly suggested third parties. Many clients mistakenly believe that the PGT would be the better choice, because it will be “free”. This is not correct.
The PGT plays a critical role in the lives of many British Columbians, particulary those who have no family members able to assist. In order to carry out its mandate, the PGT does in fact charge fees, payable by the Estate of the affected person. The fees are set by the British Columbia government, through the Public Guardian and Trustee Fees Regulation. The Regulation was updated, effective August 1, 2014. The amounts payable to the PGT differ in some cases from fees described in other legislation, such as the Trustee Act. While these fees do not fund the whole of the PGT’s operations, they do contribute to the cost of the operations (note that the PGT does not operate at a profit).
For a fuller explanation of the many roles of the PGT, check out their excellent website here.