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Supportive guardians and administrators

Information about the roles of supportive guardians and supportive administrators, including their powers, when they may be appointed and their responsibilities.

From 1 March 2020 VCAT, may appoint guardians and administrators whose role is to assist a person to make their own decisions. VCAT may decide to make this decision after an application has been made for any of the following orders:

  • guardianship
  • supportive guardianship
  • administration
  • supportive administration.

VCAT may decide that it is more appropriate to make an order for a supportive decision-maker if they believe that the person to be represented will be able to make their own decisions with help.

See s. 87—Guardianship and Administration Act 2019 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Who can be a supportive guardian or administrator?

VCAT may appoint a supportive guardian or administrator if they:

  • are over 18 years old
  • consent to act in the role
  • are a suitable person to act as a supportive guardian or administrator
  • will act according to the duties and obligations set out in the Act.

Supportive guardians and supportive administrators are not entitled to receive any remuneration for acting in the role.

See s. 88, 94, 95—Guardianship and Administration Act 2019 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Deciding suitability

When deciding whether to make an order appointing a supportive guardian or administrator, VCAT must take into account:

  • the will and preferences of the proposed supported person (if this can be ascertained)
  • the desirability of preserving existing family (and other) relationships that are important to the proposed supported person
  • the kind of relationship that exists between the 2 people (particularly if it is characterised by trust)
  • the availability of the proposed supporting person
  • the capacity of the proposed supportive person to recognise the importance of any relationship the proposed supported person may have with any companion animal.

See s. 88—Guardianship and Administration Act 2019 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

When VCAT may make a supportive order

Before making an order for a supportive role VCAT must be satisfied that the person to be supported:

  • agrees to the order being made
  • will have decision-making capacity in relation to the personal or financial matter that is the subject of the application, and
  • will have their social and personal wellbeing promoted if the order is made.

See s. 88—Guardianship and Administration Act 2019 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

How long supportive orders last

VCAT must conduct a reassessment of an order:

  • within 12 months after making the order

  • at least once every 3 years after making the order.

Reassessment at any time

VCAT may also choose to reassess an order either on its own initiative or following the application by any other person.

Note: VCAT may make an order excusing them from conducting a 3 year reassessment.

See s. 159—Guardianship and Administration Act 2019 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

If a new order is made

A supportive order ceases to have effect if any subsequent guardianship or administration order is made to the extent that it is inconsistent with the subsequent order.

For example, the new order may give a power to a supporting person that is quite separate from the power given under the first power. The first order may empower a supportive guardian to help the supported person decide where they should live, and the second order may help that person make a decision about attending a gym. Under these circumstances, both orders can happily co-exist. However, if the second order was supporting the person to make a decision about whether they wanted to move house, then this may be significantly inconsistent with the first order.

VCAT may amend a current supportive order if they are making a new guardianship or administrative order for the supported person.

See s. 96—Guardianship and Administration Act 2019 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

What is to be included in a supportive order

If VCAT decides to make a supportive order, it must include (where relevant):

  • the name of the supported person
  • the name of the supportive administrator or guardian
  • the personal matters that the supportive guardian has powers to provide support about
  • the financial matters that the supportive administrator has powers to provide support about
  • any specific powers that VCAT decides to give the person taking on the supportive role
  • any restrictions to be placed on the supportive person's role

See s. 89—Guardianship and Administration Act 2019 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Powers and duties that VCAT may order

Powers for supportive guardians or administrators

VCAT will tailor the order to fit the particular needs of the person in need of decision-making support when they are considering whether to make an order. Before granting any of these powers, VCAT must be satisfied that the supportive person is able to provide the practical and appropriate support that will enable that person to have decision-making capacity in relation to that personal or financial matter.

The orders may specify one or more of the following powers:

  • power to access or get information, or to assist the supported person to access information
  • power to communicate certain information about the supported person with others
  • power to communicate a decision made by the supported person, or to help that person to communicate their decision
  • power to take reasonable action or act as necessary to give effect to certain decisions (make the decision happen).

See ss. 90, 91, 92, 93—Guardianship and Administration Act 2019 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Decisions about significant financial transactions may be excluded

VCAT may prohibit a supportive guardian or administrator from supporting a person to make a decision about a significant financial transaction. A significant financial transaction includes:

  • making or continuing an investment of an amount of more than $10 000 (including taking up rights to issues of new shares or options for new shares) that the supported person is entitled to because of their existing shareholding
  • undertaking real estate transactions (but not including making decisions about a rental property the supported person intends to live in)
  • dealing with land
  • giving a guarantee
  • undertaking a transaction for the supported person involving the use of the supported person's property as security for an obligation
  • buying and selling substantial personal property on behalf of the supported person.

See s. 93—Guardianship and Administration Act 2019 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Duties and obligations for supportive decision-makers

People granted power to support the decision-making power of a person must:

  • act according to the general principles under the Act
  • act honestly, diligently and in good faith
  • exercise reasonable care and skill
  • not use their position for profit
  • avoid acting where there is or might be a conflict of interest, ensuring the interests of the supported person are the primary consideration
  • discuss anything relating to a supported decision with the supported person in a way that the supported person can understand, and that will assist them to make the decision
  • not assist the person to conduct any illegal activity
  • must not coerce, intimidate or unduly influence the supported person in any course of action.

See ss. 8, 93—Guardianship and Administration Act 2019 (Vic)(opens in a new window) and Object and principles.

Support for the supportive role

A supportive guardian or administrator may ask VCAT for advice on any matter that relates to the scope of their role, or the exercise of any power granted under the order.

After considering the application (or acting on its own initiative) VCAT may:

  • approve or disapprove any act proposed
  • give appropriate advice
  • make any necessary orders.

See s. 97—Guardianship and Administration Act 2019 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Notification of a death

If a supportive decision-maker becomes aware that the supported person has died, they must notify VCAT in writing.

See s. 98—Guardianship and Administration Act 2019 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

More information

Legislation

Guardianship and Administration Act 2019 (Vic)

  • Part 4—Supportive guardianship orders and supportive administrative orders
    • s. 87—when VCAT may make a supportive order
    • s. 88—persons eligible as supportive guardians or administrators
    • s. 89—matters to be specified in the supportive orders
    • s. 90—powers of supportive persons
    • s. 91—information power
    • s. 92—communication power
    • s. 93—power to give effect to decisions
    • s. 94—duties and obligations of supportive guardians and administrators
    • s. 95—supportive decision-makers are not entitled to be paid
    • s. 96—when orders cease
    • s. 97—seeking advice from VCAT
    • s. 98—obligation to notify VCAT of the death of a supported person

See Guardianship and Administration Act 2019 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Updated