Adults under provisional guardianship in Belgium

Adults can manage their property themselves. But what if they can no longer manage their assets for medical reasons? Then Article 488 bis of the Belgian Code can be applied. This can help adults. The justice of the peace of the canton, as well as the adult himself or his family, can appoint a provisional administrator. This provisional administrator has the task of looking after all the interests of the protected person. These tasks include not only the financial interests, but all interests of the protected person. It is the justice of the peace who supervises the tasks of the provisional administrator.

The provisional administration of a protected person

In Belgium, an adult can be protected by law to have his or her property managed. Article 488 bis (18-07-1991, art. 2) of the Belgian Code: ,Provisional administration of property belonging to an adult, is then applied. This adult, also called a protected person, is someone who is no longer able to manage his or her property due to physical or psychological problems.

What medical problems are we talking about?

When we think of physical problems, we think of a state of coma, a cerebral thrombosis, or complete paralysis. When we think of psychological disorders, we think of memory disorders, dementia, Alzheimer’s, psychoses, depression or paranoia.

Publication in the Belgian Official Gazette

The appointment of a provisional administrator is announced by the registry of the Justice of the Peace in the Belgian Official Gazette. According to Belgian law, this must be done within 15 days. This announcement allows many authorities (such as banks, notaries, public administrations) to be informed and they can take the necessary measures.

The mayor is also informed of the measure

The mayor of the place of residence of the protected person is informed. He must ensure that the guardianship is mentioned in the population register. After the administrator accepts his assignment, the public prosecutor is also informed.

Who can appoint an administrator?

Every adult can appoint a guardian. But not only the person concerned, but also any interested person can apply for the appointment. This also includes the spouse, a family member, creditor, OCMW, public prosecutor, confidant or lawyer. It is the justice of the peace who determines what is best for the protected person. The provisional guardianship can be adjusted at any time by the justice of the peace.

What are the duties of a provisional administrator?

First and foremost, the provisional administrator contacts the financial institutions and banks of the protected person. He submits to the banks a copy of the judgment pronounced. The banking institution can now adjust the administration. This means, among other things, that the protected person can no longer have access to his own accounts; he must stop using payment cards, among other things. The administrator contacts people who still owe money to the protected person and he also makes the necessary social and administrative contacts. The first contacts are with the protected person himself and with his immediate environment. Within one month of assuming his duties, the administrator shall submit a report to the registry of the Justice of the Peace. The administrator does not need authorization to reinvest capital . He can decide about this on his own responsibility.

The provisional administrator repeatedly manages the financial affairs of the protected person. These financial matters include receiving the protected person’s income and paying all necessary expenses (gas, electricity, rental bills). The account statements will be sent to the administrator’s address. In addition, the administrator represents the protected person when concluding contracts and can, among other things, sign notarial deeds on his behalf. The intention is to keep a kind of diary in which income and expenditure are listed.

A provisional administrator may not only have an eye for the financial aspects, but must also pay attention to the well-being, living situation and personal needs of the protected person. Moreover, it is his duty to provide information to the protected person. He is subject to the rules of professional secrecy. He is thus bound by a duty of discretion towards third persons. After all, the file of the provisional administrator is strictly confidential, also with regard to family members of the protected person.

Does the provisional administrator receive compensation?

The law stipulates that the justice of the peace can award compensation to the administrator. The compensation is a maximum of 3% of the annual income of the protected person. The administrator receives additional compensation if he is forced to perform extraordinary official duties.

How long does provisional administration last?

The term of office of the provisional administrator is of indefinite duration, unless the justice of the peace decides otherwise. The justice of the peace can end the assignment at any time. This can be done at the request of the public prosecutor or a third party interested, but can also be done at the request of the protected person or the administrator himself.

Is there control over the administrator’s duties?

It is the justice of the peace who approves the duties of the administrator. He can make comments or request additional information. Moreover, he can even appoint an expert to investigate the transactions and veracity.

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