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Legal Resources

Important topics addressing advance care planning and substitute decision-making are generally covered by provincial or territorial Acts, so please browse the individual provincial/territorial resource listings. Legal terminology and the legal documents that you may need to have drawn up also vary across the country. In your caregiver role, you may be named as decision-maker, assist your care recipient in developing a care plan, or work with others who are in a protective role.


Government of Canada Sites

The Seniors Canada site is a hub for caregiver resources including legal matters and can be viewed on a Canada-wide or Provincial/Territorial basis. Under the Legal Matters title, the Advance Care Planning and Wills and Estate listings have some valuable information. In Advance Care Planning, the Care Guide includes articles on financial and legal matters. In the Wills and Estate section, a number of Canadian Revenue Agency topics are covered, including a listing of tax-related guides and forms in the Executors section.

Fr : Particuliers -- Exécuteurs testamentaires

In the Seniors section, under the Publications title, documents and links are provided addressing abuse and/or neglect of older adults as well as family violence issues.

Fr: Publications:

The Collaborative Seniors' Portal Network (CSPN) is a national project that has produced a valuable online resource called Seniors' Info. The site is currently focused on Ontario but provides a list of legal resources in the Advance Care Planning, Wills and Estate and Other Legal Resources for Seniors sections.

Fr: Info-aines

Non-Government Sites

The Long-Term Care Planning Network sells educational resources that address long term planning issues that you, as a caregiver, may want to know more about.

Speak Up. Start the conversation about end of life care.


Alberta Government Sites

If you are caring for a senior, the Office of the Public Guardian can help with decisions about personal, non-financial matters included in the Personal Directives Act, the Adult Guardianship and Trusteeship Act and the Mental Health Act.

As a caregiver, you may help to write or execute a Personal Directive for your care recipient. In this legal document, you may be named decision maker for your care recipient's medical treatment should they no longer have the capacity to make

If your care recipient is over 18 years and unable to make personal or financial decisions, you may assume a range of Adult Guardian or Trusteeship roles as a decision-making supporter, a co-decision maker or more.

A new Act, entitled Protection for Persons in Care Act, requires that all abuse be reported to Protection for Persons in Care, the police or another regulatory body.

Living in Alberta. This is a hub for government programs with alternate links to important legal resources, forms and application processes. The Making Life Decisions section includes information about wills, personal directives (living wills), guardianship and trusteeship.

You may be appointed or named as the Attorney in an Enduring Power of Attorney, by your care recipient (called the Donor), to make financial and legal decisions on their behalf.

You may be appointed by the court in a Formal Trusteeship if your care recipient does not have the capacity to make decisions for themself. Alternately, you may have to interact with a Trust Company, if chosen, or an Informal Trustee if arranged with the government department issuing care-related cheques.

If your care recipient is severely disabled and having their assets managed under the Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH) Benefits Administration Program, an informal trusteeship may be in place:

A Public Trustee may be appointed by the Government of Alberta's Office of the Public Trustee, if your care recipient has mental disabilities and is deemed a vulnerable person who needs their financial interests protected, as outlined in the Public Trustee Act.

You may be involved with legal matters if your care recipient dies. The basics of Wills, Executors and Beneficiaries are explained in the Government's Life Events listing.

The Office of Public Trustee may be involved in settling the estate of a deceased person as a last resort, if no appropriate person or corporation is found or has been named. You may need to work with the Public Trustee and know more about their role.

Non-Government Sites

LawCentral Alberta is an online collection of links to legal resources and education including how to access a lawyer, legal clinics and services or legal aid.
Legal Resource Centre of Alberta.

British Columbia

British Columbia Government Sites

The site includes legal matters as one of its primary topics. You and your care recipient can find basic information on Wills, Powers of Attorney, Guardian and Trusteeship roles and more.

Elder abuse is addressed and the BC Health and Seniors Information Line is available for related questions: Victoria 250-952-1742 or Toll Free 1-800-465-4911.

The Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General provides information on Victims and Witnesses of Crime and Violence.

BC's Ministry of Attorney General publishes a pamphlet entitled About Wills and Estates that provides a thorough list of legal terms.

Non-Government Sites

Protective roles you may assume as a caregiver are addressed in a non-government site hosted by Nidus, a Personal Planning Resource Centre and Registry, which is affiliated with the Law Society of British Columbia.

You may be involved in the drafting or executing of a Living Will or Advance Directive for your care recipient, which documents their end-of-life wishes in terms of health care and treatment. These documents are not legally binding but if your care recipient becomes incapacitated, a Representation Agreement must be in place to direct Personal Care.

For financial and legal issues, if your care recipient becomes incapable of decision making, an Enduring Power of Attorney should be in place.

Adult Guardianship may be put in place instead if your care recipient needs assistance making decisions and an informal arrangement is not enough. Caregivers are often named as Guardians or, if no one is appropriate and your care recipient can't make decisions, a Public Guardian and Trustee may be appointed by the courts.

Clicklaw is a reputable site for legal information and education compiled from 24 contributor organizations. They provide information on wills, estates and life planning.


Manitoba Government Sites

Manitoba Family Services and Consumer Affairs and the Office of the Vulnerable Person's Commissioner enforce the Act for vulnerable persons with a mental disability. Caregivers caring for a vulnerable person need to be familiar with the legal supports in place, as they may be asked to become a Supportive Decision Maker and provide advice, or a Substitute Decision Maker and take over decision making when required.

Fr :Loi sur les personnes vulnérables ayant une déficience mentale

The Disability Issues Office helps inform caregivers caring for a disabled person about their roles, rights, and responsibilities.

Bureau des personnes handicapées :

The Public Trustee of Manitoba plays numerous roles, when the resident or their family is not able to assist. You may need to work with a public trustee or know about their role.

The Public Trustee provides information on Power of Attorney requirements and includes links to two important publications: A Legal Information Guide for Seniors and Enduring Power of Attorney Guidebook. You need to know about the power of attorney program as you may be asked to act as Attorney for your care recipient or to work with their Attorney.

Fr: Programme de procuration :

The Public Trustee will hold the Power of Attorney, if your care recipient wants this, if there is no one else to act, and if their assets are valued at less than $250,000.

Fr: Curateur public :

The Public Trustee administers estates of deceased Manitobans where there is no one else willing, capable and appropriate to do so.

Fr : Succession d'un défunt :

If you are the formal or informal caregiver for a child with a trust that is being administered by the Public Trustee, you should be familiar with their duties.

Fr: Services de fiducies destinées aux enfants :

The Manitoba Department of Justice provides information on all legal issues pertaining to a deceased person. You may be named as executor and/or beneficiary and should be familiar with the process:

Fr: Justice de famille :

The Manitoba Seniors and Health Aging secretariat is responsible for the government's elder abuse strategy and includes the Seniors Information Line for information and referrals on abuse at: (204) 945-1884 or 1-888-896-7183.

Fr: Stratégie provinciale de lutte contre la violence envers les personnes âgées -

The Manitoba Department of Health provides an overview of the Health Care Directives Act. You may be involved in having a Health Care Directive (or Living Will) drawn up for your care recipient. Or, you may be asked to act as Proxy for this Directive, giving you the power to act on your care recipient's Directive in the event they are not able.

Fr: directives en matière de soins de santé :

The Manitoba Department of Health also oversees the Protection for Persons in Care Act, a law to help protect adults from abuse while receiving care in personal care homes, hospitals or any other designated health facility.

Fr : Assurer la protection des personnes recevant des soins :

Non-Government Sites

Sites that provide information, advice and access to legal services for Manitobans:

Community Legal Education Association

Legal Help Centre

LawNet Canada

New Brunswick

New Brunswick Government Sites

The Department of Social Development describes its Adult Protection program and provides regional office contacts for adult protection referrals:

Non-Government Sites

The Public Legal and Information Services of New Brunswick (PLEIS) provides Planning Ahead information that covers topics such as Wills, Estates Planning and Managing your Financial and Personal Affairs.

Fr: Planification :

You may be involved in drawing up Powers of Attorney with your care recipient for financial and health (personal care) matters or selected for one or both roles. Information about the roles can be found.

Fr: Procurations :

Fr: Procuration pour soins personnels :

A Public Trustee may be in place if your care recipient is not capable of making decisions. You may work with the Public Trustee whose mandate is:

  • To provide personal and financial guardianship services to adults who need support due to a mental or physical incapacity;

  • To administer the estates of deceased and missing persons;

  • To protect the financial interests of children; and

  • To protect the legal interests of incompetent persons.

Fr: Le Bureau du curateur public:

An Adult Guardian may be appointed by the courts, under the Infirm Persons Act, when a mentally incompetent adult can't manage their own affairs. You may be the applicant to appoint a guardian or need to work with the selected Guardian.

Fr: Tutelle de l'adulte :

Newfoundland and Labrador

Newfoundland and Labrador Government Sites

The Department of Health and Community Services publishes a book entitled Seniors and the Law in Newfoundland and Labrador. Topics included are wills, estate planning, Enduring Power of Attorney and Advanced Care Directives. You may need to help your care recipient (called the Donor) through the planning process for their future care, or be named as the Power of Attorney or Enduring Power of Attorney (pages 13-16) or need to work with the Attorney. Find out about Advance Health Care Directives (pages 17-22) which are a legally binding document directing medical treatment decisions for the Donor.

The Mental Health Care and Treatment Act outlines two support options for patients with some form of mental illness; Patient Representatives and Rights Advisors. You may be asked to become a Patient Representative for your care recipient while they are well, to support them in accessing information regarding their care and treatment, when they are unwell. Rights Advisors are appointed by the government to provide advice for mentally ill patients who are detained involuntarily. You may need to work with a Rights Advisor. A brochure outlines the roles.

The government's Safety and Security program is outlined and educational fact sheets provided. There is also information available from the campaign entitled Violence Against Older Persons.

Non-Government Sites

Other sites provide educational information on family law. A lawyer referral service is offered by the Public Legal Information Association of Newfoundland.

LawNet Canada

NorthWest Territories

NorthWest Territories Government Sites

The Office of the Public Guardian outlines the guardian role for adults who are unable to make decisions about their personal or health care. You may be asked to be Guardian for your care recipient:

The Department of Justice provides detail about the Office of Public Trustee. A Public Trustee may be appointed when persons need help managing their financial affairs, or have died without a Will or representative. You may be involved in completing documents for your care recipient or you may be named a Guardian or Trustee.

The Department of Justice also provides an educational Power of Attorney document entitled Controlling Your Financial Future, for those who want to choose someone to oversee their financial decisions during their lifetime, if they become incapable. A Power of Attorney is chosen while the person is well. You may assist your care recipient through the Power of Attorney process or you may be named as the Springing Power of Attorney (an Attorney that is initiated at a specific time in the future) or Enduring Power of Attorney (an Attorney that is initiated right away continuing into the future).

The Department of Health and Social Services has a Family Violence Resources section which addresses abuse of older adults and abuse of persons with disabilitiesand what to do about it/how to report it:

Non-Government Sites

LawNet Canada

Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia Government Sites

The Department of Justice oversees legislation relating to care decisions related to personal, health and financial matters. You may assist your care recipient in planning for their future or may be named in a representative role and need to understand the responsibilities.

Personal Directives set out the wishes of your care recipient in terms of health care, residence decisions and support services. A trusted person may be named as their substitute decision maker for the future, when they are unwell. Two informative brochures are available that detail the roles:

Planning for Your Future Personal Care Choices: Personal Directives in Nova Scotia

Making Personal Care Choices for Your Loved One:

You may be named an Enduring Power of Attorney or Power of Attorney to oversee financial decision making. This Attorney is chosen while your care recipient (called the Donor) is well. In the case of an Enduring Power of Attorney, the decision- making role will continue if or when the Donor becomes incapable of decision-making. Frequently asked questions on health care choices provides more answers.

The Public Trustee of Nova Scotia may be involved as a decision-maker of last resort for mentally incompetent adults, if no other steps have been taken to establish care roles or if substitute decision makers are unable to act. The Public Trustee can act on health, housing, financial, estate and other related decisions. You may need to work with the Public Trustee office. Their role is outlined.

Forms related to the Public Trustee are listed, including those for referring financial, health care and estate-related matters.

The Department of Seniors outlines its' Senior Abuse Awareness and Prevention strategy, with links to educational resources and contacts for taking action against elder abuse: Senior Abuse Line: 1- 877- 833- 3377 and the Protection of Persons in Care: 1- 800- 225- 7225, for those in a licensed health facility.

Non-Government Sites

The Legal Information Society of Nova Scotia has a section on Seniors Law that includes an informative pamphlet, entitled It's In Your Hands: Legal Information for Seniors and provides questions and answers about Powers of Attorney and Making a Will.

Fr: C'est entre vos mains: information juridique pour les personnes aînées

LawNet Canada provides a searchable database with information on Wills and Estate as well as personal planning documents.


Nunavut Government Sites

The Department of Health and Social Services helps to educate about making future financial and health decisions. You may be asked to support your care recipient if they become unwell or incompetent in the future. If your care recipient draws up a personal directive, their wishes for personal and medical care will be documented in case of future inability to make decisions.

The Government of Nunavut refers residents to two informative pamphlets:

Planning for Possible Loss of Independence

Managing and Protecting Their Assets

Non-Government Sites

LawNet Canada provides a searchable database with information on Wills and Estate as well as personal planning documents:

LawNet Canada

For Aboriginal and Inuit Elders or Caregivers, an Elders Support Phone Line for counselling is provided at: 1-866-684-5056.


Ontario Government Sites

The Ontario Seniors' Secretariat has produced the Guide to Advance Care Planning, to educate on the options for future care planning. You may help your care recipient through this planning process and you may be named as a substitute decision maker through a Power of Attorney for Personal Care, making personal and health decisions if your care recipient is unable to.
Fr: Guide de planification préalable des soins :

The Collaborative Seniors Portal Network (CSPN) is a federal-provincial initiative that compiles online seniors' information on a variety of topics, with some available at a community level. The Seniors' Info site covers Legal Matters such as Advance Care Planning, Wills and Estate, Other Legal Resources for Seniors including how to find a lawyer. Selected topics are listed, although you should browse the menus for topics of importance to you.


The Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee (Ministry of the Attorney General), provides questions and answers about Powers of Attorney, Living Wills and Public Guardians or Trustees. Your care recipient can name someone to make financial decisions for them with a continuing power of attorney for property or make personal care and health decisions by naming a power of attorney for personal care. You may assist your care recipient through this planning process or may be named as an official care representative for your loved one. A Power of Attorney kit is also provided for downloading.

Fr: Procurations et "Testaments de Vie"

The Guardian of Property is another substitute decision-making role for financial matters, if your care recipient is mentally incapable. The Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee oversees the capacity assessment and application process and you may be named as Guardian. Or a Public Guardian may step in as decision maker in cases where no other care representative has been identified. The Office provides educational documents on the Guardian role, the Guardian application process and the assessment process

Fr: Pouvoirs et responsabilités liés à la tutelle aux biens

Fr: Nomination des Tuteurs aux Biens

Fr: L'évaluation de la capacité

Fr: La Prise de Decisions au nom d'autrui en matiere de soins de sante

If you are involved in the settling of a care recipient's estate, the Government of Ontario has provided information on what steps to take when someone dies.

Fr: Lorsque quelqu'un decede

Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO)
provides a listing of online publications. The Health & Disability section includes pamphlets on Powers of Attorney for Personal Care and Continuing Power of Attorney for Property. The Legal section includes a directory of Community Legal Clinics in Ontario.

Fr: CLEO Publications en ligne

The Law Society of Upper Canada provides advice on working with lawyers and links to directories of lawyers, law specialists and referral agencies.

Fr: Trouver un avocat ou un parajuriste

Non-Government Sites

The Advocacy Centre for the Elderly is a community based legal clinic for low income senior citizens, based in Toronto.

The Certified General Accountants of Ontario have provided guidelines for executorship, if you are named as an estate trustee for your care recipient.
Executorship: A Guide for Those Called Upon to Act as an Estate Trustee

The Ontario Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (ONPEA) directs

caregivers to specific regional resources including the Community Care Access Centres and promotes a Senior Safety Line at 1-866-299-1011.

Prince Edward Island

Prince Edward Island Government Sites

The Department of Community Services, Seniors and Labour has a listing of Supports for Seniors that includes the Prince Edward Island Seniors' Guide, with a useful financial and legal assistance section (pages 66&67).
Power of Attorney and Public Trustee roles are also explained.

The Department of Justice and Public Safety administers Legal Aid services for residents of PEI:

The Department of Health provides information on the Adult Protection Act and gives the Home Care Office contacts for the provision of adult protection services.

Non-Government Sites

The Community Legal Information Association of PEI (CLIA) provides important legal information. In the Planning Ahead section, various substitute decision making roles and responsibilities are outlined including being named a Proxy in a Health Care Directive, or a Power of Attorney for assisting in financial and legal matters, or an Executor or Administrator in settling an estate. You may assist your care recipient through this advance planning process or may be named as one of the substitute decision makers.


Quebec Government Sites

Quebec's Curateur public provides important Planning Ahead information, as you may help your care recipient through this planning process or may be named as a substitute decision maker such as a Mandatary. A Mandate is drawn up while your care recipient is well but gives the Mandatory authority to make decisions concerning accommodation, administration of your property and end of life care should the Mandator become incapacitated.

Fr : Vous êtes un citoyen prévoyant

Fr: Qu'est-ce qu'un mandat?

A Power of Attorney is involved with property only and is in force while your care recipient is capable of decision making. You may work with a named Attorney or may be in this role yourself.

Fr : La procuration :

If a substitute decision maker has not been named and your care recipient has been assessed as incapacitated, the Curateur public will either help to appoint a curator or tutor or step into this role themselves.

Fr : Le rôle du Curateur public

Fr :Le Curateur public et le mandat

Various Leaflets and Guides can be downloaded. Several are specific to roles you may be asked to assume to protect your care recipient such as a Mandatory, Curator or Tutor. Browse the list.

Fr: Dépliants, guides et brochures

The Department of Family and Seniors provides educational resources and services on elder abuse and its prevention. The Elder Abuse Help Line 1-888-489-ABUS (2287) is promoted.

Fr: Maltraitance aines

Non-Government Sites

Éducaloi has compiled a directory on legal documents and roles that you may encounter as a caregiver. In the Health and Loss of Independence section, an extensive list of plain language infosheets is contained under the titles People Unable to Care for Themselves and Their Affairs and Mandates Given in Case of Loss of Autonomy.

Fr: Repertoire D'Information Juridique

Fr: Régimes de protection

Fr: Mandat en cas d'inaptitude :


Saskatchewan Government Sites

The Department of Justice and Attorney General provides a Learning Centre that contains information on Living Wills and Health Care Directives. You may assist your care recipient through this planning process or may be named as a substitute decision maker, called a Proxy, in the case of a health care directive if your care recipient becomes incapacitated:

If your care recipient has become incapable of handling their own financial decision making, an Adult Guardian may be named. You may be applying for this role or may work with the Guardian and need to be familiar with the responsibilities.

Another substitute decision-making role is that of the Attorney, in a Power of Attorney document. Your care recipient (the Grantor) may have set up a power of attorney to oversee all their affairs, both personal and financial, or some more specific set of duties outlined in the document. An Enduring Power of Attorney will be set up while the Grantor is well, and the Attorney will continue in the role even if the Grantor becomes incapacitated.

The Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee administers the financial affairs of dependent adults who are incapable of making these decisions if another Guardian is not in place. If the individual is deceased with no Executor or kin available, the Public Guardian may also step in to settle the estate.

Non-Government Sites

The Public Legal Association of Saskatchewan (PLEA) has three relevant sections in their Legal Resource listing under "Older Adults", for those who want reading material. The Life after 60 section contains details about getting legal advice and making decisions for the future, such as guardianship. The Older Adults and the Law section contains information on the various types of Powers of Attorney, Health Care Directives, Guardianship and making these appointments. Abuse of Older Adults describes the types of possible abuse and lists numerous contacts for reporting abuse, at the bottom of the section.


Yukon Government Sites

The Department of Health and Social Services outlines the Care Consent Act which addresses substitute decision-making roles that a care recipient may want or need as part of planning for their future. As a caregiver, you may be assisting in this planning process or named in a protective role and need to know about your duties.

The Social Services listing includes information about Abuse of Older Adults, including printable fact sheets and promotion of the Seniors'  Services/Adult Protection Unit help line at: (867) 456-3946 or toll-free at 1-800-661-0408 (ext. 3946).

The Public Guardian and Trustee of Yukon steps in to act as guardian of last resort for adults who require financial and personal decision making, and to administer the estates of deceased persons where there is no one else to do so.

An Adult Guardian may be named in order to manage the personal, health care, legal and financial affairs of an adult that is not capable of making these decisions. As a caregiver, you may be named as Guardian or need to work with a Guardian.

The Yukon Public Service Commission provides an overview of Powers of Attorney in the Retirement Planning/Estate Planning section. A Power Of Attorney grants someone the ability to handle financial affairs and/or make medical decisions on an individual's behalf. There are several types of Powers of Attorney, including an Enduring Power of Attorney which continues should the individual become incapacitated. As caregiver, you may be named as the Attorney in a legal document or asked to work with an Attorney; either way you need to understand the role. A Will Preparation checklist is also included.

Non-Government Sites

Yukon Public Legal Education Association (YPLEA) provides Law Line; a toll-free service to help residents find legal resources and answers.
LawNet Canada links residents to law-related resources and education. A question and answer section on Will and Estate Planning is included..

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