Guardianship and being a guardian

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In a guardianship (curatele), a guardian takes care of all the personal and financial affairs of a person who is unable to do so for themselves. Only persons aged 18 or older can be under guardianship.

An application for guardian must be submitted to a court. These proceedings fall under civil law. It is not compulsory to engage the services of a lawyer.

What is guardianship? What does a guardian do? And how do you file a complaint about a guardian?

What is guardianship?

Guardianship is a way of protecting someone who cannot properly manage their financial affairs, possessions and personal affairs. The judge will appoint a guardian to do this for them. A person under guardianship lacks legal capacity. For example, they may not have the capacity to enter into contracts independently or have custody of children.

The court grants guardianship only if the lighter forms of protection (fiduciary administration [bewind], mentorship [mentorschap] or a combination of both) are insufficient.

What does a guardian do?

A guardian has the following duties and obligations, among others:

  • making decisions regarding the money and property of the person under guardianship;
  • paying bills and applying for benefits and allowances;
  • keeping records and filing tax returns;
  • arranging for the care, nursing, treatment and supervision of the person under guardianship;
  • maintaining personal contact to ensure that they know how the person under guardianship is doing;
  • supporting or representing the person under guardianship during discussions with healthcare providers, practitioners or institutions;
  • taking action if the person under guardianship does not receive the care they need;
  • providing financial and other reports to the court on the progress of the guardianship.

When carrying out their duties, the guardian involves the person under guardianship as much as possible. A person under guardianship can have either one or two guardians.

Types of guardian

  • Private guardian: a relative of the person under guardianship (spouse, child) or an acquaintance.
  • Professional guardian: someone who is a guardian by profession, and supervises three or more people under guardianship. They must meet specific quality requirements (, information in Dutch).
    A foundation can also be a professional guardian.

Provisional fiduciary administrator

The judge may institute a temporary form of protection. In that case, the judge appoints a temporary (provisional) fiduciary administrator (bewindvoerder). The fiduciary administrator protects the financial and personal interests of the person concerned. The person concerned retains their legal capacity.

The temporary form of protection runs until either a guardian has been appointed or the court rejects an application for guardianship.

Guardianship, fiduciary administration or mentorship?

There are three ways to protect someone. Guardianship is the most stringent form.

  • Guardianship: when someone cannot manage their financial and personal affairs. The judge appoints a guardian to do this for them. A person under guardianship lacks legal capacity.
  • Mentorship (in Dutch): when someone cannot make decisions regarding personal matters not relating to finance, such as care, nursing, treatment and support. The judge appoints a mentor to make these decisions for them.
  • Fiduciary administration (in Dutch): when someone cannot manage their financial affairs. The judge appoints a fiduciary administrator to do this for them.

It is possible to combine fiduciary administration and mentorship.

For managing financial affairs, there are other forms of help available besides guardianship and fiduciary administration. Are you wondering which form best suits your situation? See the help overview (in Dutch).


Do you have a complaint about a guardian?

Then send a letter to the district court supervising the guardian (information in Dutch). The judge will assess your complaint(s) and may invite you and the guardian to a hearing.


Publication of guardianship in public registers

The names of people under guardianship can be found in:

The registry also notifies the municipality where the person under guardianship is registered and publishes the decision in the Government Gazette [Staatscourant] (, information in Dutch)..

What is the purpose of registration in the CCBR?

Publication in the register avoids the situation of unwanted contracts being entered into. A company, for example, can check in the register whether a specific person is under guardianship. In that case, the company will only enter into the contract after receiving permission from the guardian.


Contact about guardianship

The district court’s district department (afdeling kanton) or fiduciary administration bureau (bewindsbureau) handles all guardianship matters.


Legal advice

Would you like personal advice on your situation? Do you need assistance with drafting documents or during the hearing? You have the option at all times to engage the services of a lawyer or other legal advisor.

Contact the Rechtspraak Service Centre

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