9 February 2022

Support administration for members of Religious Congregations

In Religious Congregations (RC) and in the General Houses that host the sisters and brothers, you may have to manage a person who has difficulties with activities of daily life and self-care, due to both age and, possibly, illness.

The love and protection found within the RC undoubtedly ensures all possible assistance and care for the brother or sister in difficulty, but it is also necessary to think about the dynamics of the legal sphere of the subject who can no longer look after themselves fully.

In fact Religious Congregations guarantee that daily obligations, such as going to the post office or to the bank — but also situations of greater importance — can be carried out by a trusted person and with all the safeguards and protections ensured by the legal system on behalf of those in difficulty, which are also called “beneficiary” or “person receiving support“.

A different and less invasive tool of interdiction and disability

In the past, it was frequent to resort to legal institutions that in some way, in order to protect the person in difficulty (because they were very old, ill, or affected by personality disorders or lavishness), limited their legal capacity. Such institutions were frowned upon, as this approach was in some way perceived to make the person subjected to it as a lesser version of the person themselves.

Often in the past (and, in some cases, still today) the words “interdicted” and “disabled” were used. These measures were quite invasive and required complex procedures. The person in question became almost “under investigation”; it was necessary to evaluate them even in a clinical way, and extensive searches were carried out to find even distant relatives who might have an interest in the procedure.

Today, however, the Italian legislator wants to introduce a much more streamlined and adjustable tool for the specific cases and needs of those in difficulty: support administration.

An agile process

The aim of this tool is to give protection and legal certainty to all those numerous people in difficulty (Italy is one of the countries with the highest number of elderly people in the world) who need someone to help them, yet without all the technicalities and the rigidity of interdiction and disability.

Thus, in the event that a brother or sister is unable to provide for his or her own interests, it will be possible to request the appointment of a support administrator by the Court.

The word Court can be frightening, but in this case, it is not a trial, rather an administrative proceeding that is held before the Tutelary Judge. In fact, this procedure does not end with a sentence, but with an administrative provision, called “appointment of support administrator“.

The petition

To have a support administrator nominated, the beneficiary themselves, or other subjects such as a relative or cohabitant, can file in Court, before the Tutelary Judge, a petition containing all the relevant information and documents:

  • the personal details of the person in difficulty;
  • the reasons for this difficulty (such as illness), accompanied by medical documentation;
  • a list of actions that the person can no longer perform by themselves and for which the appointment of a support administrator is therefore requested;
  • the name of the person you want to be appointed as administrator;
  • the consent of the family members to the appointment of the administrator.

At this point, the Judge checks whether it is appropriate to also notify other subjects/relatives of the appeal and once these notifications have occurred, a hearing date is set in which it is necessary to appear in Court. However, if the person cannot move — a circumstance that must be proven by medical documentation — the Judge will come to the person’s home, even to the General House.

After having heard/seen the beneficiary, the Tutelary Judge will issue a provision for the appointment of the administrator.

Who can be appointed administrator?

Generally, the administrator is chosen among the family members of the person receiving support, and therefore a brother, sister, mother or father. However, anyone can be appointed administrator by the Tutelary Judge. When someone outside of the family is appointed, a lawyer or a trustee is generally preferred.

In any case, as seen above, in the same petition that is filed for the appointment of the support administrator, a person is designated who is to be appointed as administrator by the Judge.

What does the support administrator do?

With the provision of appointment, a whole series of powers conferred to the support administrator are listed, who from that moment will be able to act in the name and on behalf of the person who cannot look after themselves.

As we said before, this tool is agile and therefore adjustable according to the real needs of the subject. In general, in any case, the following powers are conferred upon the administrator with the appointment provision:

  • collection of the pension.
    • In general, the obligation to credit the pension is established in a current account in the name of the person receiving support;
  • withdrawals from the current account.
    • Generally, a monthly maximum of withdrawals is established which are justified by the expenses to be incurred for the maintenance and care of the person receiving support;
  • to take care of and sign administrative procedures needed for the necessary and appropriate therapeutic treatments and care;
  • handling and signing of all tax documents, including the annual tax return.

Finally, the support administrator will have to prepare an annual report that describes the financial situation of the beneficiary and the activity carried out by the administrator, accompanying everything with an expense report and expense documents.

To find out more about the aspects highlighted in this article you can, as usual, contact us at info@dikaios.international or on +39 06 3671 2232.

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