Guardianship and financial administration

What is an administrator?

At times, people in our community need help with their financial affairs. This is where an administrator, such as the Public Trustee can help.

 An administrator must act in line with the Guardianship and Administration Act 2000 and the directions of QCAT or a court order.

The Guardianship and Administration Act 2000 sets out general principles that an administrator must apply.

These principles inform and structure the Public Trustee’s decision-making. They ensure we act in a way that:

  • promotes and safeguards, and
  • is least restrictive of

 our customers’ rights, interests, and opportunities.

The Act also sets out the following further obligations for administrators:

  • Act honestly and with reasonable diligence.
  • Follow any directions given by QCAT or the court.
  • Not enter into transactions where there is a conflict of interest.
  • Keep accurate records—QCAT may ask for the records to be audited.
  • Consult and act collaboratively with others appointed to make decisions for the individual.
  • Follow the provisions of the Act when undertaking real estate and security transactions or making investments for the customer.
  • Ensure gifts or donations made by the customer are reasonable and reflect what their wishes would be if they had capacity
  • Ensure the reasonableness of any provision made for a customer’s dependants (out of the customers funds)

If the Public Trustee is appointed as customers’ financial attorney (rather than administrator) under an Enduring Power of Attorney document, our actions are governed by the Powers of Attorney Act 1998.

What is a guardian?

The Public Trustee is not the same as the Public Guardian.

A guardian is a person QCAT appoints to help an adult with impaired decision making capacity.

The guardian promotes and safeguards the adult’s rights, interests and opportunities by making certain personal and health care decisions on their behalf.

How is an administrator or guardian appointed?

Applications to QCAT for the appointment of an administrator can be made by a family member, close friend, professional or any person who has a genuine interest in the welfare of the adult – including the individual themselves.

Or, if in a civil proceeding the court orders an amount to be paid to a person with impaired capacity, the court may appoint an administrator.

People may also apply to QCAT to appoint a guardian. QCAT can appoint guardians to make personal decisions on a person’s behalf in relation to matters such as:

  • accommodation
  • the provision of services
  • health and personal matters
  • legal matters not relating to the individual’s finances and property, and
  • with whom the individual has contact with.

The Public Trustee is not the same as the Public Guardian.

QCAT or a court will determine whether a guardian and/or administrator may be nominated in the application however, QCAT or a court will make the final decision.

How the tribunal decides

The tribunal will only appoint a guardian or administrator if it is satisfied that all of the below apply:

  • The person has impaired capacity
  • There is a need for a decision or the person is likely to do something that involves or is likely to involve unreasonable risk to the person’s health, welfare or property
  • If a guardian or administrator is not appointed, the person’s needs will not be adequately met or their interests will not be adequately protected.

Who can be appointed as an administrator?

QCAT or a court will consider whether the proposed administrator is:

  • readily available
  • able to provide appropriate assistance to the person
  • possesses the financial ability and accountability, and
  • in a position of conflict.

 An administrator must be:

  • over the age of 18
  • not bankrupt, and
  • not a paid carer or health provider for the adult.

The Public Trustee can be appointed as administrator (but not as guardian.)

 As the largest administrator in Queensland, we currently help manage the financial matters of over 9,400 individuals.

 We are fully accountable and impartial. You can count on us to always be there.

Structured decision-making

We support customers to  make or participate in financial decisions to the greatest extent possible. We do this through a structured approach:

  1. We support the customer to the greatest extent practicable in making their own decisions.
  2. We support the customer to express their views, wishes and preferences, and take these into account to the greatest extent practicable.
  3. If the customer’s views, wishes and preferences cannot be determined, we use the principles of substitute judgement to try and work out what the adult’s views wishes and preferences would be.
  4. Once these factors are taken into account, we can make a considered decision.

This approach to decision-making ensures that we act in a way that both promotes and safeguards, and is least restrictive of, our customer’s rights, interests and opportunities.

Helpful resources

Aged and Disability Advocates Australia have developed a range of video resources to offer those living with intellectual disability and their supporters a way to learn about rights and the responsibilities involved in supported decision making processes.

You can access these videos here.

 The Australian Guardianship and Administration Council have developed National Standards for Financial Managers.  These standards have also been written in an easy English version – Things your financial manager should do.

The Queensland Disability Network has also produced a My Housing Options Workbook to help review current living situations, explore housing options and learn more about rights and responsibilities as a tenant.

Caxton Legal Centre Inc. has created a fact sheet about elder abuse, translated into ten different languages.

Last published: 1/12/2020 4:14:56 AM