What is a guardian
A guardian is a person appointed to make legally valid decisions on behalf of a person with a disability who is unable to make decisions on their own or without support. In NSW this occurs under the
Guardianship Act 1987.
A guardian can be appointed by the Guardianship Tribunal or by a legal process known as
A guardian will usually be authorised to make decisions on behalf of another person in specific areas of a persons life and for a certain length of time. In guardianship an area of decision making authority is called a function.
Guardians are appointed to make health and welfare decisions on behalf of the person under guardianship. These might include decisions about where to live, what services to use, or to consider consenting to medical and dental treatment. A guardian cannot make decisions about financial matters or a person's estate unless they have been authorised under an enduring power of attorney or they have been legally appointed to be the person's
financial manager. The Public Guardian can never be a financial manager.
In guardianship appointments made by the Guardianship Tribunal, anyone can apply to become a guardian. The tribunal will consider appointing a family member or a friend or unpaid carer of the person, someone who is willing to make decisions in the best interests of the person with a disability. When there is no private person who can be appointed the tribunal will
appoint the Public Guardian as the 'guardian of last resort'.