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About Guardianship

What is Guardianship?​

Guardianship is a legal relationship between a person who has a disability or a mental disorder and another person called the Guardian. The purpose of Guardianship is to provide support to the person in managing their own affairs and to advocate for their rights and best interests.

A Guardian is a person who is appointed by the Guardianship Board to manage the affairs of another person who is not capable of managing their affairs due to disability or mental disorder. The Guardian may be given the authority to manage personal and/or financial matters. There may be more than one Guardian representing a person.

Guardianship Orders are characterized by a respect for and consideration of the aspirations of the person subject to guardianship and promotion of the well-being of the person. The law delineates that the parameters of guardianship orders should be in line with the aims that are intended to be achieved and freedom of choice and action of the person subject to guardianship should only be restricted when necessary and only to an extent that is proportionate to the aim pursued.

Types of Powers​

The types of decisions that are to be taken on behalf of the adult will determine the powers that are needed, such as: 

  • Personal Welfare - powers in relation to making welfare decisions for the adult person
  • Financial - powers in relation to the finances belonging to the adult person
  • Property Management – powers in relation to the administration of immovable property belonging to the adult person

Powers, if required can be applied for separately but generally they are made together within the same application to the Guardianship Board.

Who can be a Guardian?

A legally appointed Guardian must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Be resident in Malta
  • Consent to act as Guardian to the person about whom the application is being made
  • Be prepared to act in the person's best interests at all times and encourage the person's independence, personal decision-making and participation in community life
  • Not be in a position where their own interests conflict with the best interests of the represented person

 A Guardian can be a family member or close friend.


Functions and Obligations of the Guardian​ 

Guardians assist people in making personal, lifestyle, financial and health-related decisions and may act on behalf of the person in order to safeguard their interests. Guardianship orders specify the areas in which the Guardian can make decisions.
The ‘guardian’ is obliged to act in the best interests of the person subject to guardianship and be responsible to safeguard the personal and proprietary well being of the person to whose guardianship he/she is appointed. Guardians can act instead of the person in matters of personal or proprietary nature and do any other thing for or on behalf of the person to whose guardianship they are appointed. In addition, the Guardian is expected to:
  1. Provide the support required to the person subject to guardianship in exercising legal capacity in so far as this is possible
  3. Consult with the person subject to guardianship and take into account and respect the rights, will and preferences of the person in so far as this is possible
  5. Encourage the person to participate as far as possible in the life of the community
  7. Encourage and assist the person subject to guardianship to become capable of caring for oneself and one’s property and make responsible judgments in matters related to one’s person and property
  9. Protect from neglect, abuse or exploitation
  11. Provide assistive means as required for the fulfillment of the above​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​