Alberta Introduces Legislation to Update Trust Laws

Alberta has introduced legislation designed to make it easier to create and manage trusts while reducing the need to go to court.

On March 29, the Government of Alberta tabled the new Trustee Act (the “Act”). If passed, the Act would reduce administrative burdens and increase the efficiency of trust management for individuals, charities and businesses, the province said in a release.

The Act would introduce a new duty of care provision for trustees, as well as a duty to report to beneficiaries and be responsive to beneficiary requests. It would also allow for temporary trustees when a trustee is absent or incapacitated, allow for the removal of unfit trustees, and provide a process by which trustees can resign.

The Act would reduce the need for trustees and beneficiaries to go to court for most matters. The province said that the legislation would also clarify trustees’ duties and accountabilities, and provide a basis for simple trusts that do not have extensive terms while still allowing for customization.

MLT Aikins LLP lawyer Salvatore Amelio, Q.C., was quoted in the province’s release: “The new Trustee Act simplifies the management of trusts by ensuring trustee powers and duties are clear and easy to understand and includes the ability for expanded delegation by trustees primarily in investment and administrative matters.” In addition to heading up Edmonton’s Estate Planning & Administration practice group, Salvatore is also the chair of the Edmonton Branch of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP).

Alberta’s current legislation deals mainly with trusts made in wills, but the new Act has been modernized for 21st century businesses to cover real estate investment trusts and royalty trusts, and would introduce provisions to recognize, validate and regulate non-charitable trusts.

The MLT Aikins Estate Planning & Administration group has extensive experience advising individuals, businesses and charities on trust planning. Contact us to learn more.

Note: This article is of a general nature only and is not exhaustive of all possible legal rights or remedies. In addition, laws may change over time and should be interpreted only in the context of particular circumstances such that these materials are not intended to be relied upon or taken as legal advice or opinion. Readers should consult a legal professional for specific advice in any particular situation.