Financial Management Orders

Financial Management Orders

What is a Financial Management Order (FMO)?

The NSW Trustee and Guardian Act 2009 allows a Financial Management Order (FMO) to be made. The Mental Health Review Tribunal is one of the bodies with the power to make FMOs. FMOs can also be made by the Supreme Court and the Guardianship Division of the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT). When the Tribunal makes a FMO, it appoints the NSW Trustee to manage the financial affairs of the person under the FMO. The NSW Trustee manages the property, business and financial interests in close consultation with the person and if appropriate, their nominated friend, relative, guardian or care provider. The actual day-to-day management of the person's affairs is undertaken by staff who work for the NSW Trustee.

When will the Tribunal make a Financial Management Order?

The Tribunal can only make a FMO in relation to the financial affairs of a person who is presently an inpatient at a mental health facility. The Tribunal will conduct a hearing, which is an informal meeting, at which the person's ability to manage their affairs is assessed. The assessment is made by the Tribunal panel (comprising a lawyer, a psychiatrist, and a member with a qualification like social work or psychology), and the Tribunal will be assisted by reports obtained from professionals who know the patient, as well as relevant information from the patient, their families etc as appropriate. The patient may be in need of assistance with the management of their affairs for a short period of time, perhaps during a period of active illness. Other patients may require assistance for long periods. So the Tribunal can make an interim financial management order (for a period of up to six months), or a FMO which will continue until it is revoked.

Can a patient appeal against a Financial Management Order made by the Tribunal?

Yes, a patient can appeal to the Supreme Court against a financial management order made by the Tribunal. 

An appeal may also be lodged with the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) against an order made by the Tribunal or a Magistrate that the estate of a person be subject to management by the NSW Trustee. An appeal to NCAT may be made by the person to whom the order relates or any other person who was a party to the proceedings in which the order was made

What does the NSW Trustee do after the Tribunal makes a FMO?

The financial management services provided by the NSW Trustee to the patient whose financial affairs have been made the subject of a FMO include:

  • Protecting assets and legal rights
  • Facilitating the buying and selling of a home
  • Organising an adequate cash flow to pay bills
  • Liaising with financial and legal institutions
  • Managing a business and
  • Making investments.

What are the charges for managing a person's financial affairs?

In most cases, where the NSW Trustee is the appointed financial manager, a client of the NSW Trustee will pay only two fees - a Management Fee and an Investment Fee.

The Management Fee is a percentage of the total value of the estate under management (excluding the client's principal place of residence).

The Investment Fee is a percentage of the total amount invested in NSW Trustee's investment funds.

The fees are calculated daily and deducted at the end of each month. The NSW Trustee also charges fees on estates managed by private managers whose actions the office oversees.

More details about the fees charged by the NSW Trustee can be found on the NSW Trustee wesbite. 

Does a FMO made by the Tribunal continue after the person has ceased to be a patient?

Yes, subject to review by the NSW Trustee, a FMO can continue after the person has ceased to be a hospital patient. If it is not an interim order, it will only come to an end when it is revoked.

Can the NSW Trustee terminate management under a FMO made by a magistrate or by the Tribunal?

Yes, once the person has ceased to be a patient, management whether under a FMO made by a magistrate or by the Tribunal, may be terminated by the NSW Trustee. But only if the NSW Trustee is satisfied that the person can manage their affairs.

When will the Tribunal revoke a FMO which it has made, or which has been made by a magistrate?

Before the Tribunal can revoke a FMO it must be satisfied that the person has regained the capability to manage their affairs or that it is in the best interests of the person to have the order revoked.

What other bodies have powers in relation to FMOs?

Magistrates, the Supreme Court and the Guardianship Division of the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal can all make a FMO.

Can relatives or friends be involved in the actual day to day management of the patient's financial affairs?

The NSW Trustee is committed to working with the person subject of the order and their family to make sure the best possible decisions are made. How that occurs is determined by the specific situation of the person and the extent of the estate. If the patient's relatives or friends are already involved in the management of the patient's financial affairs, then the NSW Trustee may allow this to continue after the Tribunal has made a FMO. But the Tribunal cannot appoint a relative or friend as the actual manager of a patient's estate when it makes a FMO.