New Laws to Better Protect Victorians Living with a Disability
The Victorian Parliament has this week confirmed sweeping reforms of Victoria’s guardianship and administration laws as the Guardianship and Administration Bill 2018 was passed.
The Guardianship and Administration Act 2019 (Vic) will replace existing legislation which was introduced over 30 years ago. These changes serve to bring guardianship and administration legislation up to date with contemporary views on disability and impairment. It is hoped that the changes will better protect the rights of persons with a disability who may have impaired decision-making capacity, and enable them to participate in decisions that affect their lives.
Key changes include:
- The introduction of the presumption that a person has decision-making capacity unless proven otherwise, a concept mirrored in the Powers of Attorney Act 2014 (Vic).
- The introduction of criminal offences for guardians and administrators who dishonestly use their position to obtain a financial advantage or cause loss;
- The introduction of a supportive guardian and/or administrator to help a person to make their own decisions;
- Increased powers to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) including:
- The making of limited appointments of guardians and administrators to tailor the order to the person’s circumstances;
- The ability to order compensation where a guardian or administrator has caused loss by breach of duty.
The new laws are expected to come into effect on 1 March 2020 (unless proclaimed earlier).
If you would like further advice please contact our Wills and Estates Team on 03 9550 4600.