Apply for a welfare guardian

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It’s free to apply for a Welfare Guardian Order.

Apply to have a welfare guardian appointed

People who can apply for a Welfare Guardian Order for themselves or someone else are:

  • a person who is totally unable to make or communicate decisions about their own care
  • a relative or attorney of the person who the Order is for
  • a social worker employed under the Children, Young Persons, and their Families Act 1989
  • a medical practitioner or doctor
  • a representative of any non-profit group that provides services and facilities for the welfare of the people covered by the Protection of Personal and Property Rights Act 1988
  • the superintendent, licensee, supervisor or person in charge, if the person is a patient or a resident of a hospital, home or other institution
  • any other person with the court's permission.

Becoming a welfare guardian

A welfare guardian must be over 20 years old and must:

  • be able to carry out the duties of a welfare guardian
  • act in the best interests of the person
  • agree to be a welfare guardian
  • not have a conflict of interest with the person.

Generally, except in exceptional cases, only 1 welfare guardian will be appointed.

The court will try to find out who the person wants to have as their welfare guardian.

You should file your application at the court nearest to where the person who the application is for lives.

Find a local court 

You may want to talk to a lawyer. If you can’t afford a lawyer, you may be able to get:

Forms to appoint a welfare guardian

You’ll need to give the Family Court the following 4 forms:

Information Sheet – PPPR14 [PDF, 90 KB]

Affidavit in support of appointment of welfare guardian [PDF, 139 KB]

Medical expert report [DOC, 29 KB]

Statement of consent to be appointed as a welfare guardian – PPPR16 [PDF, 37 KB]

You’ll also need to give the Family Court 1 of these forms:

Apply for a Welfare Guardian Order for yourself – PPPR7 [PDF, 56 KB]

or

Apply for a Welfare Guardian Order for someone else – PPPR8 [PDF, 81 KB]

If it’s urgent

If a decision needs to be made urgently, the court can make an Interim Order which can last up to 6 months. This can happen while you’re waiting for the court to approve an application.

If you think you need urgent help, you may want to see a lawyer about making an urgent application for you.

Find out more about urgent help

After you apply

After the court receives an application for an Order, it appoints a specialist lawyer who will meet with the person and the applicant. The lawyer will then tell the court why the application has been made and what should happen next. Then it’s up to the judge to decide whether to:

  • hold a short hearing
  • ask for more information
  • make the Order.

How a Welfare Guardian Order ends

The court sets a date by which the welfare guardian must ask for a review of the Welfare Guardian Order. The review date must be no later than 3 years from the date of the Order.

If the welfare guardian doesn’t ask for a review by that date, the Order and the powers granted under that Order end.

Find out more about how to review a Welfare Guardian Order

The welfare guardian powers will also end if:

  • the person the welfare guardian is acting for dies
  • the welfare guardian dies, becomes bankrupt or is unable to carry out duties anymore
  • the court reviews the Order and decides to end it.

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