In the event that you are unable to manage your affairs due to accident, illness, age or disability, and have not prepared an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA), the Public Trustee and Guardian can provide assistance with the administration of your financial affairs.

Background

Persons who prepare an EPA effectively make a deed appointing a person of their choice to make decisions on their behalf. These decisions relate to property and financial affairs; health welfare and lifestyle; and medical issues, when you are either unable or unwilling to make them.

In the event that you do not prepare an EPA, and you lose capacity, application may be made to the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (ACAT) to appoint a Manager (for financial and property matters) or a Guardian (for health, welfare and lifestyle matters) or both.

ACAT will preferably appoint a family member or a close friend, who lives in the ACT, to be the Manager or Guardian.

In the event that this is not practicable or possible, ACAT may appoint the Public Trustee and Guardian to act as Manager. In such appointments the person is called the ‘Protected Person'.

Principles

The overriding principle to be observed by ACAT in making such appointments is that person to be protected must have impaired decision-making ability.

When appointed as Manager, the Public Trustee and Guardian does not make health, welfare or lifestyle decisions. However, some of the decisions made by the Public Trustee and Guardian may impinge upon these matters.

The Public Trustee and Guardian will consult with the Protected Person, the family, guardian or carer/s as specified by ACAT, to ensure that available funds and resources are used to benefit the well-being and lifestyle of the Protected Person.

The wishes and best interests of the Protected Person are respected at all times.

National standards for financial management

The Public Trustee and Guardian will conform with the agreed National Standards for Financial Management - Fact sheet 313.98 Kb. These Standards are an initiative of the Australian Guardianship and Administration Council and follow from and relate closely to the National Standards of Public Guardianship.  These standards apply so far as they are not inconsistent with ACT legislation under which financial management orders are made.

The Standards:

  • set out the minimum levels of service that persons who are unable to manage part or all of their financial affairs can expect to receive from their financial manager.
  • apply to financial managers appointed by an Order of an Australian Court or Tribunal.
  • provide a benchmark and framework for the development of similar and even higher standards of service by each state/territory.

The ratification by Australia of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on 17 July 2008 has informed the development of these standards for financial managers.

The convention promotes, protects and ensures the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities.  The convention defines these rights in each area of life and includes, amongst others, access to justice, freedom of expression, independent life in the community, education, work, standard of living, health care, rehabilitation, and participation in political and public life.

These standards aim to help you achieve these goals to the extent possible within the limitations of the role and responsibilities of a financial manager.

Costs

Charges for Management by either external Managers or the Public Trustee and Guardian are determined under the Guardianship and Management of Property Act 1991.

The Public Trustee and Guardian's charges have been structured so that no fee is payable on income received from any government pension, or from low income superannuation or annuities. A small administrative fee is payable for this service.

The charges do not cover the full cost of providing these services, as they are part of the Public Trustee and Guardian's Community Service Obligations, which are partly funded by Government.