What Happens When Someone Does Not Have A Power of Attorney Or Personal Care Directive?


A young man has been dating his girlfriend for 2 years and they have planned to get married once they are done university.  He is injured at work, in a coma, and has lost capacity.  Both his parents and his long term girlfriend want to be in the decisions regarding his care and to have access to funds from WCB.



A family is concerned because their 67-year-old mother has not been acting like herself.  One of the daughters is concerned she may be showing signs of early dementia.  The other family members think she is fine and just getting older.  Months pass and the family realizes she is getting worse and agrees to take her to a doctor to be assessed.  They are soon shocked to discover she has early stages of Alzheimer’s and the health care professional deem her to not have the capacity.



A mother’s whose child has down syndrome takes him to the local health unit for his annual flu shot.  She is shocked when the registered nurse refuses to vaccinate him, stating she cannot give him the vaccine because he does not have the capacity to consent to the vacination.  She askes the mother if she has the legal authority to make decisions for her adult child.



A young couple decided to sell their starter home and purchase a larger newer home.  They managed to finalize their real estate contract confirming their purchase of their new home and were working with a realtor to sell their starter home.  Unfortunately, within days of listing the home,  the husband had a brain aneurysm and was placed on life support.  Meanwhile, offers to purchase their starter home are received, however, the wife does not have the legal authority to sell their starter home because she cannot act on his behalf.



The adult did not have their estate documents in order and now their loved ones are left trying to deal with their grief AND hire a lawyer who can work with them to obtain a Trusteeship and Guardianship order so the loved ones can legally handle their financial and medical affairs.

In scenario #1 where there is a family and a girlfriend involved, things can become much more challenging as the Alberta court system will make the final decision on who will have the legal authority to handle the financial and medical affairs.  Do you really want to leave that up to the court system?


What Happens If There Is No One To Take On The Role Of  Legal Guardian?

  • If there are no family members or friends willing to take on this role, the Public Guardian can choose to take on the role and be appointed to make personal decisions regarding the adult’s health and living arrangements. 
  • The Public Trustee can choose to be appointed to manage the adult’s financial matters.


Questions?  Do You Need Assistance?

Our office has experience assisting Guardians, Trustees, and represented adults with the application process. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our team; we are here to help!

THIS IS A LEGAL APPLICATION TO THE COURT OF QUEENS BENCH If an individual becomes mentally incapable of making personal or health-related decisions, their family (or in some cases, the Government of Alberta) will need to obtain a Guardianship Order from the court.

THIS IS A LEGAL APPLICATION TO THE COURT OF QUEENS BENCH If an individual becomes mentally incapable of making financial decisions, their family (or in some cases, the Government of Alberta, a friend, lawyer or trust company) will need to obtain a Trusteeship Order from the court.