If a person hasn’t acquired a power of attorney for themselves and ends up becoming disabled, they may need someone to safeguard their interests. The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal can appoint a guardian to make the decisions on behalf of the person with disabilities. The decisions made by a guardian are meant to make a positive difference in a person’s life. Guardianship could also be a possibility if there are different views on a decision that cannot be resolved about the person’s best interest. The Guardian is there to step in and help resolve any decisions that need to be made.
Roles and Responsibilities
The power of the guardian depends on the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal. They can either name a limited order or a plenary order. A limited order will specify the type of personal and lifestyle decisions. This can include:
- Accommodations such as the type of housing, where it is located, or who the person will be living with
- Access to services
- Restrictions on particular people having contact with the represented person
A plenary order has the ability to make personal and lifestyle decisions as well. It also includes being responsible for making medical decisions on the person’s behalf. Neither of these guardianship types can make financial decisions for the person with a decision-making disability. As a guardian, you have responsibilities such as:
- Acting as an advocate
- Acting in the best interests
- Making decisions that are least restrictive of the person you are representing
- Taking into account the person’s wishes and make whichever wishes possible and make them into decisions
- Encouraging the person to stay active in their community
- Encouraging the person to make as many decisions as possible and act for themselves
- Protecting the person from abuse, exploitation, or neglect.
The VCAT holds guardians accountable for the decisions they make on behalf of the person with a decision-making disability. The guardian can go to the VCAT or the Office of the Public Advocate for any support or advice during their time as a guardian. The VCAT also has the ability to re-assess an order. If a guardian is not doing their role and taking on their responsibilities, the VCAT can revoke their previous order.
The VCAT can appoint two or more people as joint guardian. If this is the case, both or all guardians must agree when making decisions on the represented persons’ behalf. If they can’t agree, the decision will not be considered valid. Part 2 of Guardianship: The Court’s Decision will describe the reasons why someone needs to be appointed a guardian.
**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.