Part 1 of Guardianship: The Court’s Decision described the role and the responsibilities of a guardian. With the role being described, you may begin to wonder why a guardian would be appointed. This role is very important and should not be entered into lightly. Though it does come down to the VCAT’s decision, here is what to know about appointing guardianship to a represented person.
Reasons to Appoint a Guardian
The resource of a guardian is valuable for health service professionals. It gives them the ability to discharge patients who are older or incapable of decision making. The VCAT with appointing a guardian if the represented person:
- Has a disability that affects a person’s ability to make a decision
- Cannot make personal and lifestyle decisions in a reasonable manner
- Needs a decision made for them and there is not an alternative, less restrictive method that helps in making a decision
- Needs someone who will act in their best interests
The VCAT will typically choose a relative or close friend of a represented person to be their guardian. The main qualification the VCAT is looking for is that the guardian will act in the best interest of the represented person. The family members of the represented person can express their wishes to the VCAT of who they would like to be the best person appointed as a guardian. If there are no suitable or willing people to take on the role of a guardian, the Public Advocate will be appointed as guardian. This would be a last resort and the Public Advocate would be able to delegate the role to either an Advocate Guardian from the OPA or to a Community Guardian.
A guardian role is completely voluntary. If the guardian becomes unable or unwilling to continue as a guardian, they may resign the position. The guardian must inform the VCAT, in writing, that they no longer want the responsibility of a guardian. The VCAT can then hold another hearing to determine if the represented person still needs a guardian and if they need to appoint a new one.
**This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. In relation to your individual situation, always seek advice specific to your circumstances from a lawyer.