Family Court orders for your welfare and property: How decisions can be made when there’s no EPA
Types of decisions the Family Court might make: Personal Orders and Property Orders
Overview of Personal Orders
What’s a “Personal Order?”
A Personal Order is a decision from a Family Court judge about your personal care and welfare. This decision could include specific instructions about:
- where you’ll live, and who you’ll live with
- who will take care of you, and how to plan ahead if they can’t take care of you anymore
- your medical treatment
- other services you might need (e.g., educational, rehabilitative, or therapeutic).
The judge can also use a Personal Order to instruct someone to manage small amounts of your money or property. They can do this for any property worth less than $5,000, or for any income or benefit you get that is less than $20,000 a year.
Alternatively, rather than making specific or one-off decisions, the judge can appoint someone who will have a general power to make decisions about your care and welfare (called a “welfare guardian”) (see: “Welfare guardians: Someone to make decisions about your care and welfare”).
How long does a Personal Order last for?
The judge will usually set a date when the Personal Order ends. If they don’t state a date, the order comes to an end once the instructions have been followed, or after 12 months, whichever happens first.
Overview of Property Orders
What’s a “Property Order”?
If you’re not considered to be mentally capable to manage your own money and property, the Family Court judge can:
- make a Personal Order, and instruct someone to manage small amounts of your money or property. The judge can only do this for any property worth less than $5,000, or for any income or benefit you get that is less than $20,000 a year, or
- make a Property Order appointing a property manager. Property managers can be appointed for property of any value. The judge will also try to find out, as far as this is practical, who you want to be appointed (see: “Property managers”).
How long does a Property Order last?
The Property Order and your property manager’s powers come to an end if:
- the Family Court cancels the Property Order or appoints someone else as property manager, or
- your property manager goes bankrupt or loses their own mental capacity, or
- you die (the property manager doesn’t have ongoing power to deal with your property after you die).
A trustee company may be acting as your property manager because you (or a relative or doctor) applied directly to that company rather than to the Family Court (see: “Apply directly to a trustee company to manage your property”). In that case, you can give written notice to end their role as your property manager.