Guardianship and Administration

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Guardianship

Guardians are appointed by an order of VCAT (guardianship order) to make certain decisions about a person's lifestyle.  These decisions can relate to health care, accommodation, employment and access to services and people.

The definition of guardian in section 3(1) of the Guardianship Act includes the following types of guardian that may be appointed by VCAT:

  • the Public Advocate;
  • a plenary guardian, to whom all the powers and duties in respect of the client that a parent would have are conferred (Guardianship Act, s 24(1));
  • a limited guardian, who is conferred limited powers and duties in respect of the client as are specified in an order of VCAT (Guardianship Act, s 25(1));
  • an enduring guardian, who is authorised to exercise the powers and duties of a guardian in relation to the matters specified in an order of VCAT (or plenary guardian if the order does not specify any matters) if, and only to the extent that, the client subsequently becomes unable by reason of a disability to make reasonable judgments in respect of any of those matters (Guardianship Act, s 35A(1B)); or
  • an alternative guardian, who is appointed in the place of a previously appointed guardian and conferred the same powers and duties as the previous guardian (Guardianship Act, ss 35(3) and 35A(1A)).

It is possible to apply for a temporary guardianship order in the above classes for a period not exceeding 21 days (see generally, Guardianship Act, Pt 4, Div 4). Such an order might be imposed in the case of an immediate risk, for example, when a person is housebound, immobile and/or refusing other care.  There are no costs associated with the appointment of a temporary guardian.  Joint guardians may also be appointed.  Depending on the circumstances, two or more people can be appointed as joint guardians, in which case all of the guardians must agree for a decision made on behalf of a person to be legally enforceable.

For further information, see the Office of the Public Advocate's publications: