Guardianship and financial administration 

What is a guardian?

A guardian is a person who makes personal and lifestyle decisions for an adult with impaired capacity. This includes decisions about the adult's health care or welfare. For example, decisions about where the adult lives, what they eat and certain decisions about their medical treatment.

What is an administrator?

An administrator makes financial decisions, and legal decisions related to financial matters, on behalf of an adult who is unable to do so themselves. The administrator must act in line with the Guardianship and Administration Act 2000 and the directions of the tribunal order.

How is an administrator or guardian appointed?

If an adult has lost capacity to make decisions, the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal may appoint an administrator and/or guardian, after receiving an application from any of the below:

  • a family member
  • close friend
  • professional, such as a social worker
  • any other person who has a genuine interest in the welfare of the adult—including the adult themself.

Or, if in a civil proceeding the court orders an amount to be paid to an adult with impaired capacity, the court may appoint an administrator.

The tribunal will determine whether a guardian and/or an administrator is needed, and the best person or organisation for these roles. A preferred guardian and administrator may be nominated in the application; however, the tribunal will make the final decision.

How the tribunal decides

The tribunal will only appoint a guardian or administrator if it is satisfied that all of the below apply:

  • The adult has impaired capacity.
  • There is a need for a decision or the adult is likely to do something that involves or is likely to involve unreasonable risk to the adult’s health, welfare or property.
  • If a guardian or administrator is not appointed, the adult's needs will not be adequately met or their interests will not be adequately protected.

Who can be appointed as an administrator?

The tribunal or the court will consider whether the proposed administrator is:

  • readily available
  • able to provide appropriate assistance to the adult
  • possesses the financial ability and accountability
  • likely to cause conflict between key parties.

An administrator must be:

  • over the age of 18
  • not bankrupt
  • not a paid carer or health provider for the adult.

A trustee company under the Trustee Companies Act 1968 can also be appointed as administrator.

The Public Trustee can be appointed as administrator (but not as guardian). As the largest and most experienced administrator in Queensland, we currently manage the financial matters of over 8,000 adults. We are permanent, fully accountable and impartial. You can count on us to always be there.

Helpful resources

Aged and Disability Advocates Australia have developed a range of video resources to offer those living with intellectual disability and their supporters a way to learn about rights and the responsibilities involved in supported decision making processes. 

You can access these videos here.

The Australian Guardianship and Administration Council have developed National Standards for Financial Managers.  These standards have also been written in an easy English version – Things your financial manager should do.

Last published: 4/10/2019 1:09:06 AM