In circumstances where there is no one willing or appropriate to act as a case guardian / litigation guardian, the NSW Trustee and Guardian can be appointed in some instances to protect and administer the financial affairs and property of a person unable to make financial decisions for themselves. Alternatively, a private manager can be appointed, who is then overseen by the NSW Trustee and Guardian. They may be appointed by the Supreme Court or the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (formerly the Guardianship Tribunal), if they believe that it is in that person's best interests.
The NSW Trustee and Guardian provide financial management services directly to that person, whilst also providing authorisation, direction and oversight to a private manager appointed to manage that person's financial affairs. Their involvement might include managing that person's day to day income and expenditure, protecting that person's assets and legal rights, facilitating the buying and selling of a property, organising adequate cash flow to pay bills, liaising with financial and legal institutions and making investments.
An application for a Financial Management Order is usually made to the Supreme Court - Equity Division, or the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal. The application is usually made by someone with a genuine concern for the person's welfare, in circumstances where that person is having difficulty managing their affairs and / or legal proceedings. In most instances, the Applicant is a family member, friend, social worker or health care professional.
A Financial Management Order is a legal decision of the Supreme Court of NSW and the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal, or the Mental Health Review Tribunal to appoint the NSW Trustee and Guardian, or a private individual under the direction and authority of the NSW Trustee and Guardian, to manage that person's financial affairs. When making such an application, medical evidence is ordinarily required.
Once an order is made, it must be reviewed before it can be revoked. As such, this approach may have some unintended consequences for a client that need to be thoroughly considered.
For further information, please contact Watts McCray Lawyers.
This post was written by Elizabeth Bedford, solicitor at Watts McCray.