A controller is a person appointed by the Office of Care and Protection (OCP) of the High Court to manage the property and financial dealings of any adult who is mentally incapable of doing so themselves. Typically, a controller will be a family member or friend of the patient but may be appointed by the court if necessary. Before a controller is appointed a notice is served on the patient and other family members advising that the procedure is underway and allowing the patient the opportunity to object.
If the Master of the High Court is satisfied on the basis of medical evidence that a patient is mentally incapable of managing their personal property and financial affairs and the patient has assets or income requiring management, a controller should be appointed.
Once appointed a controller will remain in charge of a patient’s affairs unless the court is satisfied: –
- The patient has recovered.
- An order is no longer necessary.
- The controller is replaced by retirement or otherwise.
- The patient dies.
Once a controller is appointed the patient is no longer deemed legally capable of managing their financial and property affairs. The controller’s powers are limited to those set out in the court order by which the controller is appointed and will only ever extend to financial and property matters pertaining to the patient. The controller has no authority to manage health, social and welfare matters for the patient.