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Frequently Asked Questions

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.

What is a Guardian?

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.

What does a Guardian do?

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.

Who may have a Guardian appointed to manage his/her affairs?

The law presumes that an adult eighteen years of age or older is capable of handling his/her own affairs. A Guardian may be appointed to help or serve as a substitute decision-maker if a person has a disability or mental disorder, such that it prevents the adult from making or communicating responsible decisions about their personal affairs. 

How does a person apply for Guardianship?

A person applies for Guardianship by filling in an application form that can be obtained from the office of the Registrar of the Guardianship Board. 

Who may file an application for Guardianship?

According to law (Article 189(3) of the Civil Code and Article 521 of the Code of Organization and Civil Procedure), the request for Guardianship can be made by:
  • Any person with a disability or mental disorder who wishes to have a Guardian appointed
  • Spouses of persons with disability or mental disorder
  • Relatives of persons with disability or mental disorder
  • The Attorney General, unless the demand is made by any other person

Who may act as 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. 

How long does the Guardianship process take?

Every case shall be heard not later than thirty (30) days commencing on the day it is filed before the Board. A decision will be taken within a reasonable time.

Are there any fees when applying for Guardianship?

No, the Guardianship Board does not charge any fees for applications.

How long does a Guardianship order last?

All Guardianship orders are periodically reviewed by the Guardianship Board and the review date is stipulated in the order itself. 

A review may be conducted sooner if someone with an interest in the represented person applies to the Guardianship Board for a review of the order, or if the Guardian:
  • Dies
  • Applies to be discharged from the agreed responsibilities
  • Is no longer able to fulfill the agreed responsibilities 
  • Is found guilty of neglect or misconduct which in the Guardianship Board’s view, makes them no longer appropriate to act as Guardian

The powers of a Guardian cease upon the death of the person they represent.
 
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