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Guardianship Order

taniaaust1

Senior Member
Messages
13,054
Location
Sth Australia
I'm very nervous right now as I'm unsure if I'm taking the right route with things but it appears I may be but so much could go wrong with this.

As many of you are aware, I'm spending nearly all my time in bed and today when chatting to the person who did my disability plan (NDIS plan, I'm in Australia) and pointing out to her that my illness had been trivalised in it, she FINALLY has understood just how unwell I am. (I did previously tell the assessement I was mostly bedbound but obviously that had not really got through to them).

She's suggested that I apply for a partial guardianship order to be put onto me so I can get all the support I'm really needing covered. Without this I cant get ongoing advocacy for me, I cant have someone I can just call in emergencies for advice. I cant have someone to help me with things like when I have issues with the bank (I cant even often prove who I am on the phone when I need to phone bank as I often fail to answer their questions properly with my memory issues, 3 wrong and you get your account closed on you). I still need help to get my NDIS support put in place and have not been able to manage this myself (the support coordinators who were supposed to help me with that only sorted one thing out though it was granted back at the start of Aug).

She says with partial Guardianship orders, the people "work with you and don't take over".. I'm scared but have agreed to apply to have a guardianship over done over me (it will done by tribunal) so I can get all the support I'm needing. I really hope I'm doing the right thing esp when ME/CFS is so badly understood (I said her I wish to maintain all my own choices with my healthcare stuff and dont want another involved in that who may not know enough about ME/CFS).

Can anyone advise me or say anything about all this?

@AndyPandy
 
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Gingergrrl

Senior Member
Messages
16,171
I can't advise you but I am wondering if this is like conservatorship in the US? Here there is conservatorship of person, of finances, and of both. If someone does not have a family member or friend who can become the conservator, it is assigned to an agency called the "Public Guardian". I am wondering if this is similar in Australia? Can you consult with an attorney? Hoping you can talk to AndyPandy and she was the first person I thought of as well!
 

taniaaust1

Senior Member
Messages
13,054
Location
Sth Australia
I can't advise you but I am wondering if this is like conservatorship in the US? Here there is conservatorship of person, of finances, and of both. If someone does not have a family member or friend who can become the conservator, it is assigned to an agency called the "Public Guardian". I am wondering if this is similar in Australia? Can you consult with an attorney? Hoping you can talk to AndyPandy and she was the first person I thought of as well!

yeah it would be like that. One of the things she said is they will manage your money and give you like pocket money but I was "Nooo"... Im not sure if the person was referring to the "Partial" Guardianship thing or if the person I was speaking to was referring to how full guardianship works with that.

That would be seriously bad if they were just giving "pocket money" and did not understand my ME/CFS costs as most of the things we trial are not dr prescribed and without a good dr, it wont even be known by them what I needed medically. I buy a lot disability stuff or things I need for comfort due to this illness.

umm that's actually a good idea to try to contact a lawyer, I will see if I can get some free legal advice to try to find out any pitfalls I may not be aware of with all this. I'll phone one of the free legal advice services, I guess I need to speak to someone who specialises in this area.

I'm also trying to get hold of the ME/CFS SA society to talk to them about it and try to find out if they know of anyone else here who has done that and how it all turned out (they are engaged).
 
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kangaSue

Senior Member
Messages
1,845
Location
Brisbane, Australia
I suggest having a (free) chat with a family law solicitor at a community legal service about this first. I think you can arrange a phone consult if you can't get to them in person.

I don't how it works out to have a partial guardian appointed but I had to apply for guardianship of my mother-in-law a few years back when I discovered that the Public Trustee charged a fair whack for being the official guardian for everything. Can't remember how much that was now though.

The Endeavour Foundation has produced a good article on the basics of Guardianship.
https://www.endeavour.com.au/media-news/blog/guardianship
 

taniaaust1

Senior Member
Messages
13,054
Location
Sth Australia
Society.PNG "the number you are trying to reach is out of service"

I've been trying too on their other phone number without luck so far, still too busy to get through. Very glad to see that their office now is open Monday-Friday, it used to be open only on Wednesdays.
 

taniaaust1

Senior Member
Messages
13,054
Location
Sth Australia
I suggest having a (free) chat with a family law solicitor at a community legal service about this first. I think you can arrange a phone consult if you can't get to them in person.

I don't how it works out to have a partial guardian appointed but I had to apply for guardianship of my mother-in-law a few years back when I discovered that the Public Trustee charged a fair whack for being the official guardian for everything. Can't remember how much that was now though.

The Endeavour Foundation has produced a good article on the basics of Guardianship.
https://www.endeavour.com.au/media-news/blog/guardianship

Interesting thanks. I had not thought about extra money being used for all this. The NDIS lady though said, I'd get more funding approved I think, so I guess that would cover the extra costs. I did not even know till today that there was such a thing as partial Guardianship.
 

taniaaust1

Senior Member
Messages
13,054
Location
Sth Australia
KangaSue, that link looks great.

from the link

Guardianship may need to be considered in cases where the person with a disability has limited decision making capacity and requires someone to make decisions on their behalf such as health care, medical intervention, housing or access to services.

Often people may lack capacity only in making one type of decision. A person might be able to decide where they want to live (a personal decision), but not be able to decide whether to sell their house (a financial decision). They may be able to do their grocery shopping (making a simple decision about money), but are not be able to buy and sell shares (more complex decision about money).

There are a number of different types of guardianships, depending on the level of decision making support required

It has made me laugh though when it brings up about maybe not being able to buy and sell shares.... are they helping people do wheeling and dealing with their money and helping people with the share market LOL.

this is fascinating

The most common areas of a person’s life that a guardian is appointed to make decisions include accommodation, access to services, and medical, dental and other healthcare. Guardianship orders are time specific and most orders last between twelve months and three years. However, the court or the tribunal has the power to make guardianship orders for less than twelve months.

ok, that's making me feel better about this, its not like I've handed my life over for good. I can use this to help get my care plans in place properly and be off of Guardian orders when time expires if things arent working out well with this.

Being asked right now by the NDIS to specify what support agencies I wish to be with is just so confusing when I have no idea what is out there and what ones are better then others and I am not up to researching everything myself to try to make those decisions. I've said what I need help with but they want me choosing agencies etc.

How does one know if one is making good choices when one knows nothing about the places. Its like asking someone "what nursing home do you wish to go to?" and expecting them to be able to tell you when they are not really up to researching it all.

(the lady I spoke too is not even allowed to make suggestions like that too me, she said that and the person who manages my disabilty support funding said the same thing when I asked him, he's not allowed too thou he knows the field well, its classified as "a conflict of interest" his words. So I cant even got to people in the know "which ones do you recommend" and get a response).

urgh I dont have the energy to trying to investigate everything (hence why I was given a case coordinator which has not worked out). I need someone in the know be doing all that and sorting it all out the places I should seek my support services from. (Our Australian disability system is so complex)
 
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Little Bluestem

All Good Things Must Come to an End
Messages
4,930
The most common areas of a person’s life that a guardian is appointed to make decisions include accommodation, access to services, and medical, dental and other healthcare.
My bolding
Does this mean they will get you to doctors appointments? If so, that would be great.
 

taniaaust1

Senior Member
Messages
13,054
Location
Sth Australia
urgh.. frustrated, I just got the same out of service message on what I believed to be a different number after trying to get through to the SA ME/CFS society or the past for the past 2 and a half hours and kept on getting an engaged signal. And it is only due to getting the out of service message again on what I thought was a different number, I have only just realised its just SAME PHONE NUMBER. The same phone number being on different parts of the page confused me so I thought it was different numbers. http://www.sacfs.asn.au/contact.htm

My brain did not comprehend that before.. :bang-head::bang-head: I really thought I was trying to phone a different number. I HATE MY BRAIN ISSUES, it complicates everything I'm trying to do. I have issues with my brain affecting what I'm doing 10-20 times a day, with it sometimes taking days to realise things my brain has missed or not realised.

ah well, appears our state society can not be contacted to find out if others have done this partial guardianship thing and how things went. and I'm brain tired out now, no more trying to ring people today.

Is there anyone from Sth Australia here people who could tell me how long the societies phone number has not been working for? and what is going on with all that.
 
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Wolfcub

Senior Member
Messages
7,089
Location
SW UK
@taniaaust1 I just felt a little uneasy when I read that the guardian has the power to make decisions concerning your medical care. Could that, in extremis, mean you had no choice about those issues?
I possibly am misinterpreting though, as I do know nothing about all this.
 

Gingergrrl

Senior Member
Messages
16,171
@taniaaust1 I just felt a little uneasy when I read that the guardian has the power to make decisions concerning your medical care. Could that, in extremis, mean you had no choice about those issues? I possibly am misinterpreting though, as I do know nothing about all this.

I cannot speak for the system in Australia but in the US, if someone is under conservatorship, then the conservator makes all of the medical decisions, and signs all medical consents for the person since they have given their legal rights to the conservator. Although of course in an emergency, medical care would never be denied.

I should also clarify two things- first, there is conservatorship of person and of finances. If someone JUST had a conservator for financial matters, then the conservator could NOT make medical decisions and only financial ones. Often the conservatorship is for BOTH person and finances.

The second thing I wanted to mention (in the US) is that while some conservatorships are voluntary b/c the individual accepts that they need assistance, especially with their finances, many (or maybe most?) are involuntary and the court decides that the person is not legally competent to make their own decisions. I think in the US it is often the probate court.

I truly don't know how this compares to Australia and don't want to misspeak if the system is completely different!
 

kangaSue

Senior Member
Messages
1,845
Location
Brisbane, Australia
It has made me laugh though when it brings up about maybe not being able to buy and sell shares.... are they helping people do wheeling and dealing with their money and helping people with the share market LOL.
That would be handy if they could help you trade your share of illness! Buy into rising good health.
I need someone in the know be doing all that and sorting it all out the places I should seek my support services from. (Our Australian disability system is so complex)
Never easy when you don't know what you don't know. There are some privately run patient advocate organisations you can go to for this sort of thing but the costs can be fairly significant, somewhere in the order of about $150 an hour when I enquired about their services some 4 years back if i recall correctly.

Just google "australian patient advocates" to find them.
@taniaaust1 I just felt a little uneasy when I read that the guardian has the power to make decisions concerning your medical care. Could that, in extremis, mean you had no choice about those issues?
I possibly am misinterpreting though, as I do know nothing about all this.
If you also have an Advanced Health Directive document (in Australia) and had legal capacity to do so at the time of filling it out, they still have to abide by your wishes expressed in that.
 

taniaaust1

Senior Member
Messages
13,054
Location
Sth Australia
That would be handy if they could help you trade your share of illness! Buy into rising good health.

Never easy when you don't know what you don't know. There are some privately run patient advocate organisations you can go to for this sort of thing but the costs can be fairly significant, somewhere in the order of about $150 an hour when I enquired about their services some 4 years back if i recall correctly.

Just google "australian patient advocates" to find them.

If you also have an Advanced Health Directive document (in Australia) and had legal capacity to do so at the time of filling it out, they still have to abide by your wishes expressed in that.

Ive never heard of a Advanced Health Directive document..... Im really in over my head with everything
 

taniaaust1

Senior Member
Messages
13,054
Location
Sth Australia
That would be handy if they could help you trade your share of illness! Buy into rising good health.

Never easy when you don't know what you don't know. There are some privately run patient advocate organisations you can go to for this sort of thing but the costs can be fairly significant, somewhere in the order of about $150 an hour when I enquired about their services some 4 years back if i recall correctly..

wow, that's crazy costs for people on disability pensions esp when someone needs an advocate quite often. I'm not surprised though that people are turning to private advocates due to just how bad our public advocate system is...
 

taniaaust1

Senior Member
Messages
13,054
Location
Sth Australia
I cannot speak for the system in Australia but in the US, if someone is under conservatorship, then the conservator makes all of the medical decisions, and signs all medical consents for the person since they have given their legal rights to the conservator. Although of course in an emergency, medical care would never be denied.

I think that would be like a full guardianship here.

The second thing I wanted to mention (in the US) is that while some conservatorships are voluntary b/c the individual accepts that they need assistance, especially with their finances, many (or maybe most?) are involuntary and the court decides that the person is not legally competent to make their own decisions. I think in the US it is often the probate court.

I truly don't know how this compares to Australia and don't want to misspeak if the system is completely different!

yes that is a great concern of mine that if a tribunal agrees that Im not well enough to be researching making decisions all alone over my support agencies, that I could be deemed not able to make decisions in other areas as well. I've had two people though so far try to reassure me that I wont regret a "partial" guardianship to sort things out.

I phoned LIFELINE (our anti suicide advice line).. to ask them if they ever get people phoning them upset over guardianship orders and the guy said no he hasnt taken any phone calls of people distressed over this. He actually told me his son had decided to go onto one (he did not tell me what his sons illness is) and said that afterwards his son said he wished he made that decision for this a lot sooner.

I've talked to some of my family members about this and some are against this for me (my sister is very concerned due to the lack of ME/CFS unstanding and having another controlling things) but there seems to be equal agreement of other members that I really should do this. "we cant help you as we are too busy and have our own issues and you need someone to be helping you" (then my mother preceded to make me feel bad but that is a whole other story).
 
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taniaaust1

Senior Member
Messages
13,054
Location
Sth Australia
My bolding
Does this mean they will get you to doctors appointments? If so, that would be great.

I would not give them control over my medical things.. if i did that they could dictate what I see doctors for and which drs I go too and any treatments I'm allowed to have or must have. If I did that it would be a complete disaster due to lack of ME understanding over here.

I want to give them power to organise support services.... if that was done I also then can get to doctors (if I dont go shopping, I cant go out often in a week, it would be better if a good dr was found for me that can home visit so I dont have to choose between getting shopping or seeing a dr. Of cause if I'm seeing a specialist I'd need to be taken out).
 

taniaaust1

Senior Member
Messages
13,054
Location
Sth Australia
@taniaaust1 I just felt a little uneasy when I read that the guardian has the power to make decisions concerning your medical care. Could that, in extremis, mean you had no choice about those issues?
I possibly am misinterpreting though, as I do know nothing about all this.

That would be a full guardianship.... or if someone has a partial one who has expressed that need.

This whole thing is very unsettling for me though, as once you start declaring yourself not well enough to be handling things in one area and have this backed by a tribunal, I'd think it would be easier for someone to end up saying that you are not dealing with other aspects of your care well and we all know how to deal with ME/CFS opinions greatly vary.

This is the biggest health decision I've had to make since the one of "do I really need a wheelchair, do I need to get one" and FINALLY accepting that (that took me ages to come to terms with that I needed one). Actually two biggest decisions as "supported living" is also being looked into which would then require me moving.
 

Diwi9

Administrator
Messages
1,780
Location
USA
I cannot speak to Australian law and I have not read this entire thread, however, I want to point out that in the US, any form of guardianship differs on a state-by-state basis and guardianships can exist for only specific purposes.
 

Little Bluestem

All Good Things Must Come to an End
Messages
4,930
The same phone number being on different parts of the page confused me so I thought it was different numbers
I think that would confuse many people.

I just felt a little uneasy when I read that the guardian has the power to make decisions concerning your medical care.
I missed the "make decisions" bit. I do agree that would not be good.
 

YippeeKi YOW !!

Senior Member
Messages
16,034
Location
Second star to the right ...
I just felt a little uneasy when I read that the guardian has the power to make decisions concerning your medical care. Could that, in extremis, mean you had no choice about those issues?
I possibly am misinterpreting though, as I do know nothing about all this.
@taniaaust1 @Wolfcub
I think that an atty will be @taniaaust1 's best friend in making this critical decision, and one who specializes in this area. I don't know about Australia, but here in the US conservators/guardians are ceded enormous amounts of power, and if you're unlucky and get a bad one, you can find yourself in some very bad places.

And yes, a guardian can override the client's written preferences if he thinks it's in their best interests, at least in the US.

I don't want to be alarming or scary, but please DO find a good atty. We had a series of scandals here with conservators/guardians who essentially looted their client's bank accounts and left them rotting slowly. One of them actually sold their client's home when they'd fully looted their accounts, and the first inkling the client had was when the marshal came to put them out on the street. This is a pretty extreme case, but you never know.

There's little oversight here in the US, and courts are pretty backed up, so getting restitution or even a hearing is a difficult and lengthy undertaking. I'm hoping Australia is different.