Guardianship and Administrators

In circumstances where an adult has impaired capacity or loses capacity to make decisions for themselves (and they do not have an attorney appointed under an Enduring Power of Attorney), a guardian or administrator may be authorised to make decisions and act on their behalf.

In Queensland, administrators and guardians are appointed by the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT). QCAT will only appoint an administrator or guardian in circumstances where the tribunal is satisfied that:

  1. an adult (the principal) has impaired capacity;
  2. there is a need for a guardian or administrator to be appointed; and
  3. if a guardian or administrator is not appointed, the principal’s interests will not be sufficiently protected, or their needs will not be adequately met.

Who can be appointed as an administrator and guardian?

To be eligible for appointment as a guardian by QCAT, you must be aged 18 or older and must not be a paid carer or health provider for the principal. It should be noted that you are not considered a paid carer or health provider (for the purposes of appointment) if you are receiving a carer’s pension or another similar benefit.

To be eligible for appointment as an administrator you must:

  1. meet the same requirements for appointment as a guardian; and
  2. must not be bankrupt or be taking advantage of the laws of bankruptcy.

Eligibility alone does not guarantee appointment as an administrator or guardian. QACT must consider the appointment of an administrator or guardian holistically, including:

  1. whether the eligible person is likely to apply the 10 General Principles, which underpin Queensland’s guardianship framework;
  2. the extent of any conflict between the eligible person and the principal’s interests;
  3. the compatibility between the eligible person and principal;
  4. the eligible person’s criminal history (if any);
  5. the compatibility of the eligible person with any other guardians or administrators appointed;
  6. the eligible person’s accessibility to the principal;
  7. the availability of the eligible person to act on behalf of the principal; and
  8. the appropriateness and competence of the eligible person to carry out the required functions and exercise their powers.

What are the duties/powers of a guardian?

Once appointed, a guardian can make decisions related to the principal’s personal matters (including health and lifestyle), care and welfare. Generally, personal matters include deciding:

  • where the principal lives;
  • who the principal lives with;
  • the principal’s day-to-day care (eg, diet, clothing and activities);
  • what support services are provided to the principal;
  • whether the principal can work and the logistics of such work; and
  • who the principal has contact with.

The guardian can make decisions about legal matters, excluding legal matters related to the principal's finances and/or property.

What are the duties/powers of an administrator?

Once appointed, an administrator can make decisions on behalf of the principal related to financial matters, including property and finance matters. Generally, financial matters include:

  • attending to the payment of everyday expenses (eg, bills and rent);
  • arranging bank deposits and withdrawals;
  • attending to the payment of outgoings (eg, taxes and insurance);
  • seeking investment and legal advice;
  • carrying on a business or trade;
  • signing and performing contracts on behalf of the principal; and
  • purchasing, mortgaging or selling the principal’s property.

Appointment does not allow the administrator to make decisions related to the principal’s personal or health matters. An administrator is only able to make such decisions if they have been appointed under an Enduring Power of Attorney or Advance Health Directive.  

Can a person be both a guardian and an administrator for the principal?

While guardians and administrators have different roles and responsibilities in relation to the decisions they can make for the principal, it is possible that the same person could be appointed by QCAT as both guardian and administrator to the same principal.

This will mean they can make decisions regarding that principal’s personal, health and financial matters (although they exercise a different source of authority to do so).

Can multiple guardians or administrators be appointed for the same principal?

Multiple guardians or administrators can be appointed by QCAT for the same principal. Depending on the principal’s personal circumstances, QCAT can appoint guardians or administrators to make decisions solely for particular matters, jointly, jointly and severally, severally or successively.

If a disagreement arises between multiple guardians or administrators about making decisions for the principal which cannot be resolved, the Office of the Public Guardian (an independent statutory office) can mediate and conciliate the dispute.

What are the legal obligations of administrators and guardians?

If appointed as an administrator or guardian, you will be entrusted with significant decision-making powers. These powers are subject to various legal obligations and duties which you must adhere to.

If you are considering accepting appointment as an administrator or guardian by QCAT, you should contact IM Lawyers for legal advice to fully understand your duties and your obligations.

How IM Lawyers can help

Queensland’s guardianship system can be complex to navigate and comprise numerous entities which interact with QCAT. At IM Lawyers, we have the expertise to guide you through this process and explain your obligations and duties.

Call now to arrange an initial free consultation

1800 001 339

It costs you nothing to find out where you stand.

For many Estate Planning matters, we will set a fixed rate so you can understand the costs upfront.

Generally, this fixed rate will depend on the complexity of the work.  We can review initial documents and have initial discussions with you for free. This enables us to be able to accurately provide a fixed rate to you.