VCAT Administration Q & A Session
When it comes to VCAT Administration there are many questions we are asked so we ran an internal Q&A session to uncover some relevant elements to share.
What Is VCAT?
VCAT is the acronym for the Victorian Civil & Administrative Tribunal, a Tribunal in the State of Victoria.
VCAT has many different divisions but for the purpose of this Q & A session we are specifically talking about the Human Rights Division which deals with matters under the Guardianship & Administration Act.
What is the Guardianship & Administration Act?
The Guardianship and Administration Act 2019 (“the Act”) is the relevant legislation that provides for the appointment of an Administrator and / or Guardian and supported decision making. The aim of the Act is to ensure that people with disabilities are best supported when making life decisions.
In the appointment of an Administrator, if someone has a disability and is unable to run his or her financial affairs, VCAT can appoint either a family member, friend or an independent professional, such as Rosy Roberts from Burke Lawyers to run the financial affairs of that person.
What are the usual circumstances in which a member of the Burke Lawyers team may be appointed an independent Administrator by VCAT?
Although every circumstance is different, we have been appointed to manage estates where the attorney appointed under a Power of Attorney has either died or resigned or been found to have acted inappropriately. VCAT has the power to set aside a Power of Attorney and will often do so if there is a dispute or evidence that the attorney has acted inappropriately under that power.
We have also been appointed in several cases where the person with a disability simply did not get around to making arrangements to appoint an attorney.
Essentially, our role as an Administrator is to run the financial affairs of the person, prepare and file various financial reports with VCAT, look after taxation obligations, properties and in some cases run businesses.
Who is the Represented Person?
The Represented Person is the term given by VCAT for those persons suffering a disability who require the assistance of an Administrator and / or Guardian.
So how does the management of the Represented Person’s financial affairs come together?
There is the initial process of gathering a complete financial record of the Represented Person's affairs. With a disability you may find that the person’s records are in a state of disarray, tax may not have been paid for years, properties not cared for or there may be accounts outstanding. We gather all the information and speak to a range of contacts of the Represented Person to complete the picture of their current financial position.
Once we obtain all the necessary information and documentation, we can then commence the administrator tasks. This may involve the payment of overdue bills, notifying the relevant financial institutions of our involvement and creating and establishing a business and management plan for the Represented Person's financial affairs. By undertaking these tasks, the costs of the future administration of the matter reduce significantly.
Can you give us an idea how costs are calculated for the payment for your administrator services? Are there any aspects of the costing that protect a Represented Person?
The short answer is yes. It is common practice for VCAT to order that an independent lawyer such as a member of the Burke Lawyers team, be paid based on a scale of costs known as the Practitioner Remuneration Order. This is a scale established by the Supreme Court of Victoria for non-contentious legal work. It sets out a scale of rates for various tasks.
Our administration matters are reviewed by an independent costs consultant who calculates the amount payable in accordance with the scale. Our account is then provided to VCAT for a further review before approving that the costs be paid from the financial resources of the Represented Person.
We’ve mentioned cost consultants but what other professionals or third parties do you work with as an Administrator?
Given the nature of the work we undertake, the fact finding, and file management involved we collaborate with a broad range of professionals including investment advisers, financial planners, accountants and bookkeepers, doctors and other medical professionals, mediators and real estate agents.
And finally what is it about the work as a VCAT Appointed Administrator that you enjoy?
We regard the work as a VCAT appointed administrator a great privilege to help in the running of the financial affairs of someone with a disability and we take pride in restoring order where in some circumstances there has been a level of chaos.
Burke Lawyers VCAT Administration Team
At Burke Lawyers, we have extensive knowledge and experience in dealing with matters relating to looking after loved ones with disabilities as well as acting as professional executors and trustees.
If you would like to discuss how we can assist you, please contact us today on +61 3 9822 8588.