People’s rights and interests are protected by specific laws. If they aren't able to make certain decisions because of a disability or mental incapacity, another person can be appointed to make these decisions for them:

  • health
  • living circumstances
  • financial and legal affairs.

Advanced care directive

People can appoint someone in advance to make certain decisions for them if they aren't able to in the future. This is called an Advance Care Directive. It legally authorises the substitute decision maker to decide about:

  • accommodation
  • health
  • services.

Find out more about Advanced Care Directives.

Guardians through a tribunal order

If a person has a mental incapacity and there's a need for an order to be made, the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (SACAT) can appoint a guardian to make decisions about:

  • where the person lives (i.e. accommodation)
  • the person's health needs
  • any necessary services including the NDIS.

SACAT can appoint a guardian under a guardianship order to make personal accommodation, health and lifestyle decisions to support a person who has mental incapacity.

You can appoint someone you trust as your guardian in advance, in case you are ever mentally incapacitated and are unable to make these personal decisions.

Guardian of last resort

Where a guardian is needed and there is no other appropriate person appointed, SACAT can appoint the Public Advocate as guardian of last resort. This means the Public Advocate can then make decisions for the person with a mental incapacity about:

  • accommodation
  • health
  • lifestyle.

Visit the Public Advocate website to find out more.


In addition to guardianship, SACAT can also appoint the Public Trustee to administer the personal financial affairs of people who are unable to manage their own affairs.

Visit the Public Trustee website to find out more or refer to wills, estates and trusts.