​​Appoint a guardian or administrator for an adult with a disability

We can appoint a guardian A person who makes personal lifestyle decisions on behalf of someone with a disability, including decisions about their living arrangements, work arrangements, medical treatment and access to people and services. or administrator A person who makes financial and legal decisions on behalf of someone with a disability. for an adult who, because of a disability An impairment or combination of impairments – physical, neurological, or acquired brain injury. To be defined as a disability, the impairment would be permanent, result in significantly reduced capacity to communicate, move around or manage day-to-day activities and require ongoing support. , is unable to make their own reasoned decisions.

The cause of the disability may be dementia, intellectual disability Significant limitations in learning, reasoning and problem solving as well as everyday social and practical skills. These limitations originate before the age of 18. , mental illness or an acquired brain injury.

If you are seeking to appoint someone as an administrator on behalf of a missing person, find out our requirements.

Cases VCAT can hear

VCAT can hear applications to appoint:

  • a guardian A person who makes personal lifestyle decisions on behalf of someone with a disability, including decisions about their living arrangements, work arrangements, medical treatment and access to people and services. for an adult with a disability An impairment or combination of impairments – physical, neurological, or acquired brain injury. To be defined as a disability, the impairment would be permanent, result in significantly reduced capacity to communicate, move around or manage day-to-day activities and require ongoing support.
  • an administrator A person who makes financial and legal decisions on behalf of someone with a disability. for an adult with a disability.

Cases VCAT cannot hear

VCAT cannot hear applications to appoint guardians or administrators for people under 18 years of age.

Before you apply

If you nominate someone other than yourself as a guardian A person who makes personal lifestyle decisions on behalf of someone with a disability, including decisions about their living arrangements, work arrangements, medical treatment and access to people and services. or administrator A person who makes financial and legal decisions on behalf of someone with a disability. , discuss your nomination with them before you apply to VCAT. You must ensure the proposed guardian or administrator is willing and able to undertake the responsibilities of the role. You also must seek a medical report that establishes the disability An impairment or combination of impairments – physical, neurological, or acquired brain injury. To be defined as a disability, the impairment would be permanent, result in significantly reduced capacity to communicate, move around or manage day-to-day activities and require ongoing support. and that it affects the person's capacity to make their own reasonable decisions.

Role and responsibilities of guardians and administrators

Guardians and administrators have unique roles and responsibilities. If both roles are appointed, the guardian and administrator must consult each other and work closely when making decisions.

The role of a guardian

A guardian makes personal lifestyle decisions on behalf of a person with a disability, including decisions about their:

  • living arrangements
  • work arrangements
  • medical treatment
  • access to people and services.

The responsibilities of a guardian

A guardian must:

  • act as an advocate for the represented person
  • 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
  • protect the person from neglect, abuse or exploitation.

A guardian may be a friend or relative of the person with a disability. If there is no suitable person, we can appoint the Public Advocate as a guardian.

Safeguards for represented people and guardians

VCAT can reassess a guardianship order if it is not working in the best interests of the represented person.

The role of an administrator

An administrator makes financial and legal decisions on behalf of a person with a disability, 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 person with a disability, or a solicitor, accountant or an organisation. If there is no suitable person or organisation, State Trustees Limited or a private trustee company may be appointed as an 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.

Administrator reporting requirements

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.

Fees

There are no application or hearing The time and place at which VCAT hears the parties argue their case and makes a decision. fees.

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.

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:

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.