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Before making an application for guardianship for welfare planning, medical or dental treatment and/or financial management, you should consider whether there is already an appropriate informal arrangement. Such arrangement if made in the best interests of the person concerned, is better than initiating a guardianship application, which is primarily a legal proceeding. If the person concerned is receiving adequate assistance from his/her family members, friends, relatives or service providers, there may be no need for guardianship.

Air it out

Create an occasion so that everyone concerned can talk about options relating to the welfare and needs. The best solution for the person concerned may be found if professional social workers can be asked to assist in the decisions.

The problem

Is any of your family members, friends or those under your care found to be unable to look after themselves or their financial affair or to decide on medical or dental treatment?

Will there be other way than to applying to the Guardianship Board?

  • Is the treating doctor ready to proceed with treatment without a guardian?
  • Are friends, family or carers already adequately helping the person?
  • Is there already an attorney appointed under an enduring power of attorney to handle the person's financial affairs on their behalf?

If the answer is “yes” to one of the above, then a guardianship order may NOT be required.

Other choices

There are other ways for helping someone than applying to the Guardianship Board. A number of government and non-government organizations can offer help or information on available services. These organizations can provide advice about aged care, intellectual disability, mental health, brain injury, legal issue, or financial problem. You may initially approach the Medical Social Services Units at Hospital Authority hospitals, local Integrated Family Services Centres or the local Field Unit of Social Security Branch of the Social Welfare Department for assistance and information.

When to apply to the Board?

Only when you have exhausted the alternatives and the situation remains unimproved, should you consider making an application to the Guardianship Board.

Working out an alternative, as long as it is in the best interests of the person concerned, may be better than appointing a guardian.

Examples of a need to apply for guardianship for the person concerned

  1. if that person or other people disagree with decisions currently being made for him/her, for example, when there are conflicts within his/her family, or between his/her family and service providers, about his/her care and treatment which may result in inappropriate accommodation or a failure to get medical treatment for him/her;  
  2. when that person objects to his/her proposed care or treatment, e.g. placement in a residential facility;  
  3. if the doctor refuses to give non-urgent medical treatment to him/her unless he/she has a guardian to consent to that treatment;  
  4. when that person is suffering from, or at risk of sexual, physical, emotional, or financial abuse, neglect, self-neglect or exploitation, or a danger to his health, and his/her interests are not being protected sufficiently, please see the Emergency Guardianship Application of this website.


You may like to read our leaflets No.12,13 and 14 for more information.