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Public Trustee Services

What are “public trustee services” and who might need them? 

Public trustee services refer to the range of legal supports offered by the Office of the Public Trustee (OPT) to protect the personal and financial interests of vulnerable persons in New Brunswick.

There are many reasons why people may need public trustee services. The services provide protection and assistance for individuals who lack the mental or legal capacity to manage their own financial or personal affairs. This may include the elderly, the mentally challenged, children, missing or deceased persons and individuals who need guardianship support due to mental or physical incapacity. These individuals may have no one willing, able or available to act on their behalf.

The Office of the Public Trustee operates under the umbrella of the New Brunswick Legal Aid Services Commission. The authority of the Public Trustee is found in the Public Trustee Act and other provincial statutes.

The mandate of the Public Trustee may include:

  • Providing personal and financial guardianship services to incompetent adults who need support due to a mental or physical incapacity;
  • Administering the estates of deceased and missing persons; and
  • Protecting the financial interests of children.

How does the Public Trustee protect vulnerable persons?

  • Manage Property and Financial Matters – The Public Trustee may act as an attorney under a power of attorney, or be appointed by the Court as a trustee or as Committee of the Estate. This provides the authority to make decisions about property, investments and finances.
  • Make Personal Care Decisions – The Public Trustee may act as an attorney under a Power of Attorney for personal care or be appointed by the Court as Committee of the person for a client. This involves making decisions about personal care matters. It may include decisions on where the person will live and who will provide their day-to day-care and make health care decisions.
  • Act as Administrator or Executor of Estates – The Public Trustee may consent to be appointed to handle the estate of a person who has died in New Brunswick leaving assets within the province, when there is no one willing and/or able to settle the estate.

The Public Trustee does not become involved in mediating family disputes or investigating cases of financial abuse, but will make referrals.

Is there a fee for the Public Trustee Service? 

The Office of the Public Trustee charges a reasonable fee to clients using their services. They can explain the fees to individuals, families or representatives of clients on a case by case basis. The fee is based on the specific service as well as reimbursements for related costs. The Public Trustee collects the required fees from the assets of the person they represent. 

You can ask for a copy of the fee schedule or you can find it online in the Regulations of the Public Trustee Act.

How do I apply for public trustee services?

Any individual can make a referral to the Public Trustee. Requests for public trustee services must be made in writing through the completion of the appropriate Application for Services.

For more information on public trustee services:

Office of the Public Trustee

210-412 Queen Street,
Fredericton, NB E3B 1B6
Telephone: 506-444-3688
Toll-free: 1-888-336-8383

This pamphlet was developed in cooperation with the Public Legal Education and Information Service of New Brunswick (PLEIS-NB) You can contact the Public Legal Education and Information Service of New Brunswick (PLEIS-NB) for general information and resources on mental competence, powers of attorney, going to a nursing home, and more. Check out: and search planning ahead.

ISBN: 7-0443-4605-1-978

March 2021


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Disclaimer: Please note that our website contains general information about the law. This is not a complete statement of the law on particular topics. We try to update our publications often, but laws change frequently so it is important for you to check to make sure the information is up to date.  The information in our publications is not a substitute for legal advice. To receive legal advice about your specific situation, you need to speak to a lawyer.