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Responsibilities of guardians, administrators and supportive roles

VCAT appoints guardians, administrators, supportive guardians and supportive administrators to help adults with disabilityDefinitionA condition that restricts a person's physical or mental capacity to interact in their environment. Disability can be temporary, situational or permanent. .

The nature of the disability determines the role we may formally appoint. We can make more than one appointment.

A guardianDefinitionA 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 makes decisions for an adult whose decision-making capacity is affected because of a disability. It could be affected because of a neurological impairment, intellectual impairment, mental disorder, brain injury, physical disability or dementia.

Guardians and administrators have different types of decision-making power. If both roles are appointed, the guardian and administrator must consult each other and work closely when making decisions.

A supportive guardian or supportive administrator can be appointed when a person with disability can make their own decisions but needs support.

Supportive guardians and supportive administrators assist with different types of decisions.

Find out about:

Principles to follow in your role

As a guardian, administrator, supportive guardian or supportive administrator, you must follow these general principles:

  • Find out the will and preferences of the person (that is, what is important to them).
  • If you are a guardian or administrator, your decisions should be guided by what is important to the person you represent, as far as practical.
  • Help the person you represent or support with making and taking part in decisions affecting them.
  • Assist the represented person or supported person express what is important to them.
  • Help the represented person or supported person develop their capacity to make decisions.
  • Act in a way that least restricts the ability of the represented person or support personDefinitionIn cases about medical treatment and advance care directives, this is someone who represents another person’s interests about medical treatment. They support a person to make, communicate and help bring about the person’s medical treatment decisions. to make and act on their own decisions.

Guardian's role and responsibilities

A guardian makes personal lifestyle decisions for a person with disability, including decisions about their living arrangements, work arrangements, medical treatment, and access to people and services.

A guardian must:

  • be an advocate for the represented person
  • encourage and assist the represented person to develop their capacity to make personal decisions
  • protect the person from neglect, abuse or exploitation
  • follow these decision-making principles.

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

Administrator's role and responsibilities

An administrator makes financial and property decisions for a person with disability, including decisions about managing property, paying bills and making money available to them.

When appointing an administrator we may also give them other powers, including the power to:

  • collect income and other money owed to the person they represent
  • invest their money
  • lease or sell their property
  • run their business
  • sign contracts on their behalf
  • pay financial support for their children or other dependents.

An administrator may be a friend or relative of the person with disability, a solicitor or accountant. If there is no suitable person, State Trustees Limited or a private trustee company may be appointed as an administrator.

An administrator must:

  • be an advocate for the represented person
  • encourage and assist the represented person to develop their capacity to make financial and property decisions
  • protect them from neglect, abuse or exploitation
  • not use their position for personal profit
  • avoid conflicts of interest
  • not share confidential information gained in their role, unless authorised to do so by law
  • follow these decision-making principles.

An administrator is accountable for the decisions they make and must provide accounts to VCAT. Learn more about reporting requirements in General advice for administrators.

Principles to guide your decisions as a guardian or administrator

When making decisions as a guardian or administrator, you must follow these guiding principles:

  • Try to make decisions based on what is important to the person you represent, where it is practical and appropriate.
  • If the person you represent cannot tell you what is important to them, try to work it out based on all available information. This includes asking their relatives, close friends and carers.
  • If you cannot work out what is important to the person you represent, you must act in a way that promotes their personal and social wellbeing.
  • If the represented person has a companion animal, act in a way that recognises how important the animal is to them and any benefits it gives them.
  • Only disregard what the person wants if it is necessary to protect them from serious harm.

Supportive guardian and supportive administrator's roles and responsibilities

A supportive guardian supports a person with their lifestyle decisions, including decisions about their living arrangements, work arrangements, medical treatment, and access to people and services.

A supportive administrator supports a person with their financial and legal affairs, including decisions about buying or selling property, banking, investing, paying bills and managing debts.

Both roles provide support to a person with disability by performing any of the following:

  • accessing, collecting or obtaining information to assist the supported person
  • relaying information about the supported person to others
  • communicating the supported person’s decisions, or assisting the supported person with communicating their decisions
  • carrying out or acting on the supported person’s decisions.

A supportive guardian or supportive administrator must:

  • discuss any decision with the supported person in a way that they can understand
  • help the supported person to make decisions
  • not assist the supported person with illegal activity
  • not coerce, intimidate or inappropriately influence the supported person into a course of action
  • not use their position for personal profit
  • ensure the interests of the supported person are the most important considerations.

Safeguards for people in a guardianship or administration arrangement

VCAT can reassess a guardianship or administration order if it is no longer working for the people involved.

More information

We hold information sessions throughout the year. It gives new and potential guardians and administrators the opportunity to find out more and ask questions. Check our events.

The Office of the Public Advocate also provides more advice and information about guardianship and administration matters. They promote and protect the rights of people with disability.

  • Title Responsibilities of guardians, administrators and supportive roles
  • List
    Guardianship List
  • Language
    English