Taking care of a mentally incapacitated person: Guardianship or Committee

Guardianship – Who can be the Guardian?

  1. Application for guardianship can be made by:

    1. a relative of the person concerned;
    2. a social worker;
    3. a registered medical practitioner; or 
    4. a public officer in the Social Welfare Department;

      and the applicant must have personally seen the person concerned within 14 days prior to the application.

  2. The applicant, however, does not have to be and will not necessarily be the guardian. The Guardianship Board will only appoint the following types of persons as guardians:

    1. a family member or friend of the person concerned, i.e. a private guardian; or
    2. the Director of Social Welfare, i.e. a public guardian.

  3. Further, no person other than the Director of Social Welfare will be appointed as a guardian unless:

    1. he/she is at least 18 years old;
    2. he/she is willing and able to act as a guardian;
    3. he/she is capable of taking care of the person concerned;
    4. his/her personality is generally compatible with the person concerned;
    5. there is no undue conflict of interest, especially of a financial nature, between him/her and the person concerned;
    6. he/she will promote the interests of the person concerned, which may involve overriding the views and wishes of the latter when the guardian (once appointed) considers such action to be in the interest of the person concerned, while still respecting the views and wishes of the person concerned, insofar as they may be ascertained; and
    7. he/she has consented in writing to be appointed as a guardian.