Administration bond: A promise to the court, usually with surety, that the person administering the estate will be honest in performing their duties in administering and distributing the estate to the beneficiaries.

Administrator: A person responsible for administering the estate of someone who died either without a will or where a named executor cannot act or has died. An administrator is the same as an executor, but is appointed by a court.

Affidavit: A document that contains facts that you swear under oath or affirm to be true. A lawyer, notary public, or commissioner for taking affidavits must witness your signature and sign your affidavit.

Age of majority: The age at which a person legally becomes an adult, which means they can do such things as enter into a binding contract. In B.C., the age of majority is 19.

Asset: Something that a person owns. It could be real property, jewellery or a stock, including cash.

Beneficiary: A person named in a will to receive all or part of an estate or people who have an interest in a trust that was created by a will.

Committeeship: An arrangement where the Public Guardian and Trustee, a private individual, or a trust company is granted the authority to manage the affairs of an adult who is incapable of managing their own affairs. The person managing a person’s affairs is called a committee.

Certificate of Incapability (CI): A legal document issued by a health authority after an adult is assessed to be unable to manage their legal or financial affairs. The CI appoints the PGT as committee of estate and is considered only when less intrusive options have been evaluated or tried.

Committee of estate: A person appointed to take care of an adult’s legal and financial affairs when an adult cannot make decisions on their own. For example, an adult may have dementia or a severe mental health issue that stops them from paying their bills or dealing with legal issues. A committee may manage income and expenses, take care of investments, operate the adult’s bank accounts or maintain property.

Committee of person: A person appointed to make decisions about health care and living arrangements as the adult may not be able to take care of themselves and may be at risk of other people taking advantage of them. A committee of person may make decisions about where the adult should live, health care or who can visit the adult.

Conflict of interest: A situation where a person has the opportunity to further their private interest through the performance of their official duties.

Curator: A person appointed to manage a missing person’s property until they are located or until the funds are paid into court for safekeeping.

Dependent: A spouse or child of an adult.

Designated agency: One of the five regional health authorities, Providence Health Care and Community Living BC (which provide supports to adults with development disabilities). Designated agencies are required to investigate allegations of abuse, neglect and self-neglect of vulnerable or incapable adults.

Estate: All money, assets and property owned by a person.

Executor: A person or organization named in a will to administer and distribute an estate.

Fiduciary: A person who holds a position of trust to advise and act in the best interests of another person. Being a fiduciary does not only relate to financial matters. For example, a lawyer is a fiduciary because the lawyer's clients expect the lawyer to act in their best interest at all times.

Intestate: Dying without a legal will.

Intestate succession: A predetermined order of inheritance in cases where someone has died without a will. In these situations, a court distributes owned property to the closest surviving family members according to the law.

Intestate successor (often commonly referred to as heir): A person who is entitled to receive something from a deceased person’s estate, but there is no valid will or there is a gap in the will.

Legal representative: A person or organization appointed by a legal document (e.g. power of attorney, representation agreement) to act on behalf of someone else.

Liability: Something that a client owes. A debt to be paid like a mortgage or an amount owing on a credit card.

Litigation guardian: A person who has the authority to instruct legal counsel throughout a litigation. Litigation is the act, process, or practice of settling a dispute in a court of law.

Next of kin: A person's closest living relatives through blood or legal relationships.

Nomination of committee: A person may choose to plan by nominating someone to act as their committee in the future, at a time when they become incapable or cannot manage their affairs. If someone is nominated, that person must be appointed as the committee by the court unless there is good and sufficient reason for refusing the appointment.

Pension trustee: A person or organization appointed as trustee by Service Canada. A pension trustee has authority to collect and manage Old Age Security (OAS), Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) and Canada Pension Plan (CPP) benefits.

Personal guardianship: Where a person (personal guardian) is responsible for a child or youth’s day to day personal, health and wellness needs.

Power of attorney (POA): A legal document that allows adults to name another person (the attorney) to manage their financial and legal affairs if they cannot do so on their own. The adult and the attorney must be capable when the POA is created.

Probate: A process that verifies a will is real under B.C. laws.

Property guardianship: Where a person (property guardian) is responsible for a child or youth’s legal and financial interests.

Prudent investor: A person who uses a prudent investor’s care, skill, diligence and judgment when making investments. A prudent investor must:

  • Take an approach that balances risk and returns
  • Develop a written investment strategy and plan
  • Make necessary investments to protect capital and provide income for the adult whose affairs you manage
  • Develop risk and return objectives that are suitable and reasonable based on the size of the portfolio and the circumstances of the adult
  • Make sure that the investments are diversified in class and type
  • Make sure that the costs and fees charged for investment purposes are reasonable and appropriate

Real property: A land and anything that is permanently attached to it. Real property can be residential, commercial, agricultural or industrial. Example of real property is a house, condo or farm.

Representation agreement (RA): A legal document that allows adults to name another person to manage their finances or make health care decisions if they cannot do so on their own. The adult and the person they name (the representative) must be capable when the RA is created.

Representation grant: Sometimes called an estate grant, this is a document that says who has been legally proven to be the executor named in a will.

Settlor: A person or company who sets up a trust and instructions about who benefits from the trust and how assets are to be managed. The settlor also contributes assets to the trust.

Spouse: You are a spouse under the Family Law Act if:

  • You are or were married
  • You have lived with another person in a marriage-like relationship, sometimes called common-law, for a certain period of time

If you are common-law, you must have lived together for a minimum period of time to qualify as a spouse.

In order to be considered a spouse for the purposes of dividing property or debt you must have lived together in a marriage-like relationship for at least two years. But if you are applying for spousal support, you are considered a spouse if you have lived together in a marriage-like relationship for less than two years and have a child together.

Trust: A legal arrangement that governs how assets are protected and controlled by one party (called the trustee) for the benefit of another party (called the beneficiary). A trust usually involves the following three parties:

  1. The settlor: The person or company who sets up the trust and instructions about who benefits from the trust and how the assets are to be managed. The settlor also contributes assets to the trust. In some cases a trust can be created without a settlor
  2. The beneficiary: The person who benefits from the trust
  3. The trustee: The person or company who manages the trust on behalf of the beneficiary

Trustee: A person or company who manages a trust on behalf of the trust’s beneficiary.

Will: A legal document left by someone who has died. It lets others know what to do with that person’s estate and who has the legal authority to do those things.