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Report into The Public Trustee Unveils Significant Concerns

Report into The Public Trustee

A report released on 12 March 2021 raises a number of serious issues and concerns regarding the fees, charges and practices of The Public Trustee.

The Public Trustee is a statutory body which provides an important service as administrator of the financial affairs of vulnerable people who do not have capacity to manage their own financial affairs. The Public Trustee may also be appointed as a person’s Attorney for financial matters under an Enduring Power of Attorney or as the Executor of a person’s estate under a Will. The way The Public Trustee performs its role can have momentous and life-changing impacts on vulnerable people, including the diminution of their assets due to fees, the security of their accommodation and their ability to enjoy a reasonable standard of living.

The Report titled “Preserving the financial futures of vulnerable Queenslanders” was prepared by the Public Advocate, Mary Burgess, and has been tabled in the Queensland Parliament. The Report includes a number of recommendations to ensure the fees charged by The Public Trustee are fair, reasonable and transparent. It also highlights the fundamental conflict which often arises between the duty of The Public Trustees to act in the best interests of the person under administration and the interests of The Public Trustee in being paid for its services.

The Report confirms what families have been telling us for many years. We have experience in representing families in matters where the management of a person’s financial affairs by The Public Trustee has led to devastating consequences.

If you have a family member whose financial affairs are currently being administered by The Public Trustee and are concerned about how The Public Trustee is performing its role, please contact us to discuss your options. It may be that an application to QCAT is warranted to change the appointment of administrator from The Public Trustee to a family member. Further, if you have made a Will or an Enduring Power of Attorney appointing The Public Trustee as your Executor or Attorney, you may wish to reconsider those appointments, if there is a suitable family member who could perform those roles. We would be happy to assist you in making a new Will or Enduring Power of Attorney if this situation applies to you.

You can access the full report here.