Appoint an administrator for a missing person
VCAT can appoint an administrator to make financial and legal decisions on behalf of a missing person.
An administrator can only be appointed for a missing person when we are satisfied that:
- it is not known whether the person is alive
- reasonable efforts have been made to find the person
- the person has not contacted anyone who lives at their last known home address, or any relative or friend, for at least 90 days
- the missing person is over 18 years of age
- the missing person usually lives in Victoria
- while they are missing there is, or is likely to be, a need for a decision about their finances or property, and
- it is in the best interests of the missing person for someone to be appointed as their administrator.
Cases VCAT can hear
VCAT can hear applications to appoint an administrator to manage the financial and legal affairs of a missing person.
Cases VCAT cannot hear
We cannot hear cases where an application has been lodged or an order has been made under section 24A of the Administration and Probate Act 1958.
The role of an administrator
An administrator makes financial and legal decisions, including decisions about:
- buying or selling property
- banking and investing
- paying bills and managing debts
An administrator may be a friend or relative of the missing person, or a solicitor, accountant or organisation. The administrator's decisions have the same legal force as if the missing person made the decision. If there is no one suitable and willing to act as administrator, we may appoint State Trustees Limited or another organisation as administrator.
The responsibilities of an administrator
An administrator must:
- act in the best interests of the represented person
- take the represented person’s wishes into account when making decisions
- encourage the represented person, as far as possible, to make decisions and act for themselves.
Tell us if something changes
An administrator for a missing person must notify VCAT in writing immediately if they become aware the missing person is alive (either in Victoria or elsewhere) or the missing person has died.
An administrator is accountable for the decisions they make and must provide annual accounts to VCAT. Learn more about reporting requirements in General advice for administrators.
Administration for a missing person's estate
We make administration orders about a missing person’s estate for a period of up to two years. An administrator may apply to VCAT to renew the order once for a further period up to two years. If an administration order for a missing person has expired, any interested person can apply for a new order.
Before you apply
If you nominate someone other than yourself or State Trustees Limited to be the administrator, you must discuss your application with them before you apply to VCAT. You must ensure the proposed administrator is willing and able to take on the responsibilities of the role.
You must provide the details of any known power of attorney. In certain circumstances the attorney can administer the missing person’s affairs. You should seek independent legal advice about whether this is appropriate. If there is more than one known attorney, you should provide VCAT with all the contact details that you have.
Need help with your application?
VCAT cannot give you legal advice. Seek legal help if you are unsure about your legal options. The following services may be able to help you:
Do I need a lawyer or professional representative?
You do not need to have legal or other professional representation to appear at VCAT. If you wish to be represented by a lawyer or a professional advocate, usually you must ask for VCAT's permission.
Find free or low-cost legal services that may be able to assist you.
Access and privacy
VCAT hearings and files are usually public.
VCAT has limited authority to restrict who can access cases and files but, in certain circumstances, you can apply for confidentiality. For more about applying for confidentiality.