Do you need to apply?

Guardianship Division

Most people with a decision-making disability manage with help from family, friends and service providers. They do not need a guardian or a financial manager.

There are alternatives to applying to NCAT. Before going through the legal process, consider whether there is an appropriate alternative.

Talking it over

If a disagreement is preventing decisions being made for the person, bringing everyone concerned (family, carers, friends of the person with the decision-making disability) together to talk about options might assist to resolve the problem.

A Community Justice Centre might also be able to provide advice or mediation to assist with family disputes.

What's the current situation?

Are you concerned about someone who cannot make personal or financial decisions?

  1. Is there already an enduring guardian to make lifestyle decisions or an attorney appointed under an enduring power of attorney to handle the person's financial affairs on their behalf?
  2. Are friends, family or carers already assisting the person?

If you said yes to one of the above, then a guardianship order or financial management order may not be required.

Person responsible

Are you concerned about someone who cannot make decisions about medical or dental treatment? Is there already a 'person responsible' to make decisions about treatment on their behalf?

Under the Guardianship Act 1987 a 'person responsible' is, in order of priority:

  1. Legally appointed guardian of the person (including enduring guardian) with the function of consenting to medical/dental treatment or, if there is no guardian
  2. Spouse or de facto spouse or same sex partner, or if there is no spouse or de facto spouse or same sex partner
  3. Unpaid carer or, if there is no carer 
  4. Relative or friend who has a close relationship with the person.

For more information, read the Person responsible fact sheet [PDF, 54kB].

Get some advice

There are options for helping someone apart from coming to NCAT. There are a number of organisations can offer help or information on available services (see ‘Useful website’ links at top of page).

These organisations can provide advice on aged care, intellectual disability, mental health, brain injury, legal issues or financial problems.

When to apply

If the alternatives don’t work, or if there are disagreements among those involved on how to proceed or what is in the person’s best interests, or if the person concerned is objecting to any of the arrangements, you may consider applying to NCAT.

Working out an alternative, as long as it is in the best interests of the person concerned, may be better than having to go through the legal process for appointing a guardian or financial manager.