It seems logical that guardians must make decisions that are in the best interests of the personwhom they are responsible for. However, the reality is that does not always what happens. As such, if you or someone you know is concerned that a relative or a friend is unable to make decisions that are in their best interests, or perhaps someone else who is acting as a guardian already but is not doing the right thing, then you may need to apply to the SAT to appoint a guardian or challenge an existing appointment.
There are no restrictions on who can apply to the SAT and ask for a guardian to be appointed. Normally, the application will be made by someone who is worried that the other person is not able to look after themselves or that an existing guardian is not doing the right thing. Indeed, the person who makes the application does not need to be the proposed guardian or proposed administrator.
The SAT can appoint a guardian (or joint guardians) to make decisions in the best interests of an adult if that person:
- is incapable of looking after their own health and safety; or
- 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. In other words, the SAT will only appoint a guardian if it forms the view that one is actually needed. In doing so, 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 also put limits on the kinds of decisions the guardian can make for the person.
Ultimately, if there is no person (or people) willing and/or suitable to take on the guardian role then the Public Advocate (which is an independent statutory officer) may be appointed. The Public Advocate can provide information and advice about guardianship and the SAT often asks the Public Advocate to prepare a report about whether a guardian is required in these types of applications.If appropriate, the Public Advocate may also 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.
Finally, if you have read this far and think that you need some practical advice or assistance in relation to your situation, then now is probably the time to get in touch. Austral Legal can help and we offer an initial discounted 30-minute SmartMove appointment for $80 by phone or in person at our office. Bookings can be made online through our website or simply by phoning our office on 08 9745 9550. Once we have a handle on what is required, we may well be able to offer a fixed fee for any further legal services, giving you cost certainty from the start. Austral Legal. Practical advice.