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VCAT Financial Administration

Managing the affairs of a person under a disability can be complex & challenging

Suzanne Lyttleton Lawyers are one of the few firms in Victoria who are appointed by VCAT as administrators under the Guardianship and Administration Act 2019.

Sue Lyttleton has been acting as a specialist VCAT Administration lawyer for over 25 years.  In more recent years, Patrick Lyttleton and Hayley Hunter have also been appointed to manage the affairs of persons under a disability. 

In making those appointments, VCAT entrust our lawyers with the management of the financial affairs of many represented persons covering a wide range of issues.

What is an administrator?

In circumstances where a person no longer has capacity to make decisions in relation to their personal, financial and/or legal affairs, a substitute decision maker may be appointed to make and give effect to decisions for that person.

Substitute decision makers include attorneys, appointed under a Power of Attorney, administrators and guardians. 

Where a person has not executed a Power of Attorney, or that attorney is unfit, unwilling or unable to act, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal – Guardianship List has the power pursuant to the Guardianship and Administration Act 2019 (Vic) to appoint substitute decision makers including supportive guardians, supportive administrators, guardians and administrators. 

An administrator is a person appointed by the Tribunal to manage the financial and legal affairs of a person who is determined to have a disability and, as a result of that disability,  cannot make decisions for themselves. 

What is a guardian, and how is that different from an administrator?

A guardian is a person appointed by the Tribunal to manage the personal affairs of a person who is determined to have a disability and, as a result of that disability, cannot make decisions for themselves.

Personal affairs can include decisions about accommodation, medical treatment, access to persons and access to services. 

How is an administrator or guardian selected?

If the Tribunal is satisfied that a person needs an administrator, it must first consider the will and preference of that person. The person may express a view on whom they would like to be appointed to manage their affairs. 

Subject to those views, the Tribunal will consider whether there is anyone in the person’s life (such as a family member, friend or professional advisor) who might be appropriate to act as an administrator or guardian. 

Administrators and guardians must be over the age of 18 and must not have any interests which might conflict with the person for whom they are appointed. 

If there is a dispute in the family or there are complex legal issues, the Tribunal may consider appointing a professional administrator and/or an independent guardian. 

Professional administrators can include State Trustees Limited, private trustee companies, accountants and solicitors. 

What kind of decisions does an administrator make?

An Administrator stands in the shoes of the person for whom they are appointed. Subject to any Order of the Tribunal, they may make financial and legal decisions which include:

  • Buying, selling or leasing property
  • Banking and paying bills
  • Managing debts and expenses
  • Managing tax matters
  • Negotiating with aged care providers
  • Managing self-managed superannuation funds

In some circumstances, the Tribunal can authorise an administrator or guardian to commence or defend legal proceedings. 

How do administrators make decisions?

Administrators are required to act in a way that promotes the person’s personal and social wellbeing. They must liaise with the person and their family to ascertain the person’s will and preference. Decisions should be made in accordance with the person’s will and preference except where it could cause serious harm.  

Where a guardian is appointed, an administrator and guardian will be required to work together and consult each other when making decisions. 

‍Who oversees administrators?

The Tribunal oversees the actions of guardians and administrators, with both decision makers answerable to the Tribunal for decisions and actions they make.  As Administrators manage the financial affairs of Represented Person, they are required to lodge annual accounts which are audited by State Trustees Limited.

‍Guardianship and administration orders are routinely reassessed.

How do we appoint a lawyer from Suzanne Lyttleton Lawyers?

In circumstances where an independent professional administrator is required, lawyers in this office accept appointments as administrator from the Tribunal.  

For more information on having a member this office appointed as Administrator, or to discuss your application, please contact our office on 03 9646 4477.

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