Administrators - powers and duties

An administrator has the power to manage the financial and legal affairs of the person with a mental incapacity as detailed by SACAT in its order appointing the administrator.

An administrator can be a relative, friend, private trustee company, solicitor, accountant or the Public Trustee. There may be more than one administrator. An administrator who is a natural person (not a corporation) may also be a guardian.

SACAT will appoint the most suitable person or organization as administrator. This allows families and friends, who have the ability, to look after the financial affairs of a family member who has a mental incapacity.

An administrator also has the power to vary or revoke any enduring power of attorney that has been made, in the same way as the donor could if he or she was of sound mind. If the power of attorney continues, the donee must report to the administrator as if that person is the donor [Powers of Attorney and Agency Act 1984 (SA) s 10].

SACAT is required to limit the powers of an administrator to the minimum necessary in the circumstances. In making decisions administrators must observe the same principles of substituted judgement as SACAT and any guardian appointed by SACAT, see Principles of Substituted Judgement.

Subject to SACAT’s order an administrator is, in general terms, empowered to make the same range of decisions about the person’s finances and legal affairs which the person could have made if she or he were not incapacitated.

The Guardianship and Administration Act 1993 (SA) empowers SACAT to authorise an administrator to:

  • gain access to the person’s will or other records; and,
  • continue to manage a person’s estate after death for a short time (up to two months) and then hand over the affairs to an executor of the person’s will.

An administrator must provide a regular account of their management of the person’s affairs. In the case of a private administrator (that is, a person or organisation other than the Public Trustee) accounts must be prepared and sent to the Public Trustee for examination. In the case of the Public Trustee, accounts are forwarded to SACAT for examination. An administrator must work co-operatively with any guardian appointed by SACAT.

Upon appointment, SACAT will provide the person with a mental incapacity and the administrator with a copy of the terms, conditions, powers and duties of the administrator’s appointment. SACAT will also set a review date for its order.

Administrators - powers and duties  :  Last Revised: Fri Mar 27th 2015
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