The role of Financial Manager is specified in the Guardianship and Management of Property Act 1991 and covers financial matters, and some legal matters, in relation to the property of the Protected Person.
In most cases the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (ACAT) appoints a member of a person’s family or a friend as Financial Manager. ACAT only appoints the PTG as Financial Manager if there is no other suitable person available.
The role of the Public Trustee and Guardian as Financial Manager
- We collect money: We will collect and account for the Protected Person's income, including pension entitlements, superannuation, rents, investments, dividends from shares and interest. We also arrange payment of accounts and bills and lodge social security returns and medical benefits claims.
- We will budget the collected income, prioritising payment of the Protected Person's bills, which typically include accommodation, personal expenses, rents, rates, property repairs, gas, electricity, medical, hospital or nursing home charges.
- We manage property: The Public Trustee and Guardian may be required to manage the Protected Person's property, monitor a share portfolio, supervise rental properties and maintain investments.
- We prepare and lodge taxation returns: The Public Trustee and Guardian will prepare and lodge the Protected Person's income tax returns for a small fee or alternatively instruct an external accountant.
- We keep accurate accounts: In all cases, the Public Trustee and Guardian maintains detailed and accurate accounts and will provide an annual statement of account, or more regularly if required.
The Public Trustee and Guardian also monitors external Managers
When ACAT has appointed a person other than the Public Trustee and Guardian to be the Financial Manager, that person must lodge financial accounts for examination by the Public Trustee and Guardian each year. A fee is payable for this service, which can be reimbursed from the account being managed.
Where the Public Trustee and Guardian believes that the Manager is acting without reasonable care, or not in the best interests of the Protected Person, recommendation may be made that the expenditure be disallowed or that the appointment of the Manager be reviewed.
Financial managers other than the Public Trustee and Guardian
The ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (ACAT) appoints the Public Trustee and Guardian as Financial Manager for Protected Persons as a last resort. In many cases ACAT appoints a member of the person’s family or a friend as Financial Manager.
Review of Management orders
A Management order remains in force during its designated term or until it is varied by further order or revoked.
ACAT may review the circumstances of the Protected Person and may continue, vary or revoke an order to ensure that the Protected Person's best interests are served. A Protected Person has the right to request a review.
Managing Protected Person's funds
The Public Trustee and Guardian must ensure that funds held on behalf of a Protected Person are managed and invested prudently. Funds are generally deposited to the Public Trustee and Guardian's Common Fund generating a competitive return. These funds are used to pay approved expenditure on behalf of the Protected Person.
A Guardian is usually someone concerned for, and in close contact with, the Protected Person, such as an immediate family member or a close friend. The Public Advocate of the ACT may be appointed as Guardian when a suitable person can not be found.
The roles of Guardian and Manager involve close consultation about the Protected Person's specific needs. As both Manager and Guardian, the Public Trustee and Guardian will consult with the carer or family, to ensure that funds and resources are appropriately utilised to improve the protected person's quality of life.
A Management order may be limited, in which case the Protected Person may make all decisions relating to financial matters not covered by the order.
In any case, the Public Trustee and Guardian aims to maximise the Protected Person's financial autonomy, particularly in handling day-to-day expenses.
However, a Protected Person cannot enter into any binding contract to dispose of or purchase assets or property.