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The new Family Law Act: Children’s property

On November 24, 2011, BC’s new Family Law Act was introduced. This act will have wide-reaching effects on family law in the province. This entry is about children’s property. For more information, see the act itself and our introduction to the act.

Under the new Family Law Act, a child’s guardian is not automatically the guardian of the child’s property (including money). However, the new Family Law Act will allow guardians, including parents who are guardians, to manage children’s property if it is a certain type of property or below a certain value (the type of property and value have not yet been set).

If the child has property that is of a different type or worth more, a trustee will be appointed by either the court or a will or other document (called a trust instrument). The trustee is then responsible for managing the child’s property.

Any property the trustee manages must be handed over to the child when he or she turns 19, unless the trust instrument sets a different date, along with documents that account for how the property was managed. Sometimes the trustee might be responsible for the property for a longer — or shorter — length of time if that is specified in the trust instrument.

Our thanks to JP Boyd for providing the background for this series. You can find more information on the new Family Law Act, as well as other family law issues, at his BC Family Law Resource Blog.

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