In Saskatchewan, the parents of a child are the property guardians for their child. However, they do not have the authority to hold money to which their child is entitled unless they have approval from a Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench. The Public Guardian and Trustee (PGT) has the authority to receive and administer money to which a child is entitled, if a parent has not been given that authority by the Court.
Some circumstances where the Public Guardian and Trustee will receive money for a child are:
- permanent impairment, loss of studies, wage replacement or death benefits payable by SGI;
- proceeds from a lawsuit related to an injury claim or Fatal Accidents Act claim;
- life insurance proceeds, where no trustee was named on the beneficiary designation form;
- a share of an estate where the person died without a will;
- a share of an estate where a person died with a will, but did not provide authority for the executor to hold the child’s share, or where the executor does not wish to hold the child’s share;
- proceeds from the sale or lease of real property registered in the child’s name;
- lottery winnings; and
The PGT sets up an individual trust account for each child. All funds received by the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee are placed in the Common Fund. The Common Fund is made up of a bank account and investments in bonds and stocks. An investment manager, monitored by a consultant and an Investment Advisory Committee, makes approved investments.
The PGT will issue a T3 Supplementary Slip before March 31 each year to report the income earned on the trust. Income earned on the child’s trust fund is considered income for the child, and it is the responsibility of the parent or guardian to determine whether it is necessary to file a return and to file the return on behalf of the child.
The monthly fee for administering a child’s trust fund is 1/12 of one per cent of the amount held in trust. There is also a fixed fee of $20.00 to open an account and a fixed fee of $20.00 to release an account. A fee is also charged on the income that is earned and deposited to the account.
The PGT has the discretion and the authority to make payments from a child’s trust fund for the education, maintenance and benefit of the child. Each request for funds will be considered on an individual basis. Consideration is given to a number of factors, such as the source of the funds, the ability of the parents to provide for the child, the amount of the request, the purpose of the request, the amount in the child’s trust, and the age of the child.
As a rule, the PGT considers it to be the responsibility of the parents to provide for a child. When the funds are from an injury claim, payments are not usually made from a child’s account. If the funds are from life insurance or death benefits paid as a result of the death of a parent, and depending on the individual circumstances, funds may be released for a child’s trust for expenses such as maintenance, medical or educational expenses. Funds can also be released to pay income tax that the child has to pay as a result of income earned on the trust.
Requests for funds from a child’s trust must be made in writing by the guardian and must be backed up with receipts. The request must also be signed by the child, if the child is fourteen or older.
If a minor dies before receiving the funds, the PGT's responsibilities end. The funds will be released to the personal representative of the child’s estate, and the personal representative is responsible for distributing the funds according to law.