As administrator, it is your responsibility to manage the protected person’s money.

You must treat these assets prudently and for their benefit.

What can you spend money on?

You must manage the money to ensure the protected person can continue living their life as close as possible to the way they would have lived it if not for their incapacity.

You should spend money on:

  • accommodation, board and lodging
  • clothing
  • pharmaceutical needs, medical and dental expenses
  • care of a pet
  • nursing home fees
  • costs associated with the protected person’s home, such as
    • rates
    • insurance
    • electricity
    • telephone
    • house repairs and maintenance.

These are not the only expenses or items you can spend money on.

You should consult with family members, friends or other support people - they can provide information or advice about the protected person's needs, likes and dislikes.

There are annual limits of expenditure on certain things. If you want to spend more than these limits, you will need to apply for approval from SACAT.

You can gift money to people on behalf of the protected person, but your first priority should be to guard the protected person’s assets.

Any gifts which appear unusual or may be against the best interests of the protected person should be noted.

You have a responsibility to draw the attention of SACAT to any irregular transactions.

You can also make donations to charity on behalf of the protected person, but it is important you are able to show and explain to Public Trustee that the protected person could:

  • afford the donation
  • either wanted to make the donation or would have wanted to make it if they still had control over their own financial affairs
  • it was the custom of the protected person to make donations to the particular charity.

It is important to find out whether a protected person previously made donations to charities to guide your decision making.

The protected person still has an obligation to pay tax, even after you are appointed administrator.

Part of your role is to manage the protected person's taxation matters.

You can employ an accountant to assist with this - generally, you would consult the protected person's own accountant if they have one.

Tax returns are lodged in the protected person's own name and using their own tax file number, but you will need to sign the document on behalf of the protected person.

Allowing others to control money

In some circumstances, it is appropriate for others to have control of the protected person’s money.

If the protected person lives in supported accommodation - such as a group home or nursing home - it would be reasonable to provide the manager of the accommodation with money to pay for things like clothes, outings, toiletries and confectionery.

If the protected person is living with family members, it might be appropriate to provide the family with a fortnightly allowance to cover essentials like food and other household expenses.

In these cases, it is important for you to monitor the expenditure of an allowance and know what money is being spent on what items to ensure the protected person’s needs are being properly met.

Giving the protected person control of some of their own money

It is important for the protected person to maintain self-respect and a sense of self-worth - giving them some control of their own money can help with this.

There are risks that they may spend the money unwisely or put them in a position where they may be taken advantage of, but these risks can be minimised.

The following strategies can help.

  • provide day to day support to informally oversee the use of money
  • encourage them to access guidance in money management skills from a community financial service or information on the MoneySmart website.