Sometimes a person is no longer able to make their own decisions and manage their own affairs.

The person may not have made any arrangements about what they would like to happen with their financial affairs – including who will take over managing them.

In these cases, the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (SACAT) can appoint an Administrator to take care of these decisions for that person.

For some people, we might be appointed to manage their financial and legal affairs.

Types of orders

SACAT can make an Administration Order that appoints us to either manage:

  • the whole of a person's financial affairs - called a 'full order'
  • specific parts of a person's financial affairs - called a 'limited order'.

Does this make the Public Trustee my guardian?

No. A Guardian is legally responsible for making some or all of a protected person's accommodation, lifestyle and medical decisions.

The Public Trustee is never appointed as a Guardian by the SACAT.

Instead, this role can fall to the Office of the Public Advocate who can act as a Guardian of last resort for people who don't have anyone else suitable to make those sorts of decisions.

As Administrator, we communicate with a protected person's Guardian when decisions about financial or legal matters need to be made.

This is especially important when a Guardian needs to make a decision that will have an impact on the protected person's finances.

For example, if a protected person wished to move to a different location to be closer to their family, this matter would need to be discussed with us as the protected person's Administrator to see if this would be financially viable.

Changing or revoking an order

An Administration Order made by SACAT remains in force for the time specified in the order – or until it is extended, amended or revoked by a subsequent order.

A protected person has the right to apply to SACAT for a review of their order at any time.

An Administration Order can be revoked by SACAT if the protected person recovers the ability to manage their own financial affairs.

If this happens, the protected person must make an application to SACAT, supported by reports from medical professionals.

SACAT will then contact the protected person and other relevant people to attend a hearing.

We will advise a protected person (or if they have died, their legal representative) of the documents that we will need.

Once we receive these documents, we then:

  • pay out the greater part of the funds we hold on behalf of the protected person to the authorised recipient of the funds
  • provide the protected person (or if they have died, their legal representative) with written information about the payment arrangements we have had in place on behalf of the protected person while we managed their affairs
  • write to the organisations involved in a protected persons affairs to advise them that our authority to administer their estate has ended
  • prepare a final statement and pay out the remaining balance of the protected person's funds.