New Public Trustee Fees for Review of Minors’ Settlements
When claims are settled with minors it is generally a condition that plaintiffs' counsel apply for Court approval of the settlement to ensure it is binding on the minor. The Minors’ Property Act requires that notice of the application be given to the Public Trustee, who then reviews the application and provides a recommendation to the Court. As of January 1, 2021, the Public Trustee will be charging between $1,000 and $4,000 plus GST for review of minors’ settlements, depending on the size of the settlement. Practically speaking, these fees will ultimately be paid by the Defendant(s) in the matter.
A Notice to Counsel released by the Public Trustee suggests that settlements of less than $25,000 could be dealt with by way of a Guardian’s Acknowledgement, which allows funds to be paid to a minor’s parent or guardian instead of the Public Trustee. While this overcomes the burden (for the plaintiff) of dealing with the Public Trustee in relation to disbursement of settlement funds, it does not change the requirement for Court approval to make the settlement binding per s. 4 of the Minors’ Property Act.
A copy of the Notice to Counsel issued by the Public Trustee can be viewed here. For more information on this Notice or settlement of minors’ claims, please call Jennifer Biernaskie or any member of the McLennan Ross Insurance and Risk Management Team.