Obligations on an administrator

An administrator is obliged to act in the interests of the person in a way that is consistent with what the person would want if he or she did not have a mental incapacity. 

Where a guardian is appointed (who may be a different person), the guardian and administrator must work together and keep each other informed of any substantial decisions or actions.

Reporting requirements

A private administrator is required to report to the Public Trustee at regular intervals about how they are managing the estate. SACAT may also request this information. This involves preparing a statement of accounts, which must include the assets and liabilities of the estate and the income and expenditure of the estate.  The Public Trustee or SACAT may also require other matters to be part of the report.

It is an offence to fail to comply with the reporting requirements under the Guardianship & Administration Act.
Private administrators need to be aware of what they can and cannot do under an administration order and when they need to seek further approval from SACAT.

Powers of an Administrator

The administration order does not have the effect of removing a person’s assets or finances from them. An administrator only has the power to control and manage the protected person’s estate, including their bank accounts, property, business and payment of bills.  

What can an administrator do?

An administrator can access the person’s will, but is not permitted to disclose the contents of the will to anyone other than the person with the incapacity.  

The Act sets out specific powers and duties of administrators.  These include:

  • The sale and purchase of property with the approval of SACAT
  • Payment for the person’s accommodation
  • Insuring the person’s property and paying rates, taxes and insurance premiums for the property
  • Taking or defending legal action regarding the person’s property
  • Demanding money owed to the person and taking action to recover money that is owed to the person
  • Paying the debts of the person
  • Lodging a caveat over the person’s property
  • Using the person’s money and property for the benefit of the person, his or her spouse or domestic partner, children and grand-children subject to the approval of SACAT for expenditure over certain limits
  • Carrying on the person’s business
  • Repairing or improving the person’s property
  • Taking up rights for the offer of new shares to the person
  • Granting a power of attorney to another person to do anything the administrator has the power to do.

What can’t an administrator do?

An administrator cannot make decisions about where a person is going to live, their medical care or what they do day-to-day.  This is the role of a guardian.

Can an administrator pay for assistance to administer the estate?

An administrator can seek legal, accounting or financial advice for the benefit of the estate and pay for that advice from the estate of the protected person. 

See also the Public Trustee's South Australian Private Administrators' Guide.