Legal issues take on different layers when minors are involved. Filing personal injury lawsuits when a minor is involved requires different steps (we’ve touched on that in this blog post), and awarding damages to a minor is a different process compared to awarding damages to an adult.
There are different laws and structures in place to protect minors in these scenarios. One of these structures is the Minors Property Act (or MPA).
What Is It?
The Minors Property Act gives the Courts the legal right to decide how the property of a minor will be handled. For example: if damages are awarded, how and when does the minor receive the money?
Courts are also authorized to confirm contracts that involve minors, as well as settlements that result from a claim filed on behalf of a minor. It is under the MPA that the courts choose who will be the Trustee of the property of a minor (for example: who will be in charge of protecting the settlement amount until the minor is old enough to have access to the money?).
If it has to do with a minor (someone under the age of majority, which is 18 in Alberta) and something that belongs to them or is owed to them, it is likely handled by the processes provided in the MPA.
A few years ago, some changes were made to the MPA regarding the settlement amount that could be given directly to a minor’s guardian without having to involve the courts and a court appointment Trustee.
Previously, settlement amounts that were less than $10,000 could be given directly to a minor’s guardian. Now, settlement amounts that are no greater than $25,000 can be given directly to the minor’s guardian without the involvement of the courts.
It’s important to note that there can be exceptions to this rule, as well. For example, if the settlement amount is not confirmed by the courts via the necessary application, the settlement can’t be paid to the minor, regardless of the amount.
It can be confusing to understand the details of certain rules, exceptions to those rules, and to ensure that important deadlines are not missed.
This is where we come in. At McGuiness Law, we are fluent in legalese, we know how courts, insurance companies, and other involved parties behave, and we always put the rights and needs of our clients first.
If you are considering working together with an experienced and passionate lawyer, we encourage you to connect with us to set up a no-obligation, completely free consultation. Visit our website, or call us toll free at 1-833-585-4145.