Guardianship and administration

If an adult is not able to make sensible decisions about their finances or lifestyle, or is doing things that are not in their best interests, it may be possible for the State Administrative Tribunal (the SAT) to appoint a guardian or administrator (or both) to make decisions for them.

  • A guardian makes decisions about a person's lifestyle and legal affairs, such as where they should live and who they should live with, what work or education they should be involved in, who they spend time or communicate with, and what medical treatment they should receive.

  • An administrator makes decisions about a person's finances and property.

Quick Answers Videos: Guardianship and Administration
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Find out:

  • who can apply to the SAT
  • what the SAT considers before appointing a guardian or administrator
  • what the Public Advocate and Public Trustee can do.

Who can apply to the SAT for a guardian or administrator to be appointed?

Guardians and administrators must make decisions that are in the person's best interests.

If you are worried that a relative or friend is unable to make decisions that are in their best interests, you may need to ask the SAT to appoint a guardian or administrator for them.

There are no restrictions on who can apply to the SAT and ask for a guardian or administrator (or both) to be appointed for someone else. Normally, the application will be made by someone who is worried that the other person is not able to look after themselves, such as a family member, friend, social worker or doctor.

The person who makes the application does not need to be the proposed guardian or proposed administrator.

When will the SAT appoint a guardian or administrator?

The SAT can appoint a guardian (or joint guardians) to make decisions in the best interests of an adult if the person:

  • is incapable of looking after their own health and safety
  • is unable to make reasonable judgments in respect of personal matters, or
  • needs oversight, care or control in the interests of their own health and safety, or for the protection of others,

    and is in need of a guardian.

The SAT can appoint an administrator (or joint administrators) to make decisions in the best interests of an adult if the person:

  • is unable, because of a mental disability, to make reasonable judgments in respect of matters relating to all or any part of their estate, and
  • needs an administrator of their estate.

The term 'mental disability' includes an intellectual disability, a psychiatric condition, an acquired brain injury and dementia.

The SAT will only appoint a guardian or administrator if one is needed. It must first consider if there are any other suitable options that would have less impact or restriction on the person and their ability to make their own decisions. 

The SAT can put limits what kinds of decisions the guardian or administrator can make for the person (for example, if the represented person can still make reasonable decisions about some topics, but not others).

Who are the Public Advocate and the Public Trustee?

The Public Advocate is an independent statutory officer created under the Guardianship and Administration Act 1990 (WA) to promote and protect the rights of adults with decision-making disabilities. The Public Advocate can provide information and advice about guardianship and administration, as well as enduring powers of administration and guardianship.

The SAT often asks the Public Advocate to prepare a report about whether a guardian or administrator is required, and make recommendations about who should be appointed. If no other person is suitable to be appointed as a guardian, the SAT can ask the Public Advocate to take on that role.

The Public Trustee is an independent statutory officer created under WA legislation. The Public Trustee offers independent, professional trustee and asset management services to the WA community. These include drafting wills and Enduring Power of Attorney, administering deceased estates, providing support for executors, financial administration and trust management services.

The Public Trustee provides support to administrators appointed by the SAT, and also examines their accounts and record-keeping. If no other person is suitable to be appointed as an administrator, the SAT can ask the Public Trustee to take on that role.

 

Get help

Our Civil Law Division may be able to help you if you have current proceedings in the State Administrative Tribunal, or if you are involved in a dispute with the Public Trustee about money. 

Call the Infoline on 1300 650 579 to find out what help we can give for your situation.

More information

Office of the Public Advocate - 1300 858 455
  • Guardianship
    Includes information on who can be appointed as a guardian, their role, what happens in the SAT, and what the guardian can and cannot do.

  • Administration
    Includes information on who can be appointed as an administrator, their role, and what they can and cannot do.

 

Reviewed: 24 May 2018

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Disclaimer

The information displayed on this page is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you have a legal problem, you should see a lawyer. Legal Aid Western Australia aims to provide information that is accurate, however does not accept responsibility for any errors or omissions in the information provided on this page or incorporated into it by reference.