Public Trustee Disputes – Queensland
Brisbane Estate Litigation Lawyers
Let Our Brisbane Lawyers Resolve Your Trustee Dispute Problems
Our Brisbane Estate Litigation Lawyers can help you if you have suffered significant financial loss and stress as a result of putting your faith in the Public Trustee of Queensland.
This organisation was established to serve the community and provide Queenslanders with Will-making and Executor services, financial administration, and other services required by those most vulnerable in our community.
It is in our experience that the community place blind faith in these statutory authorities. Unfortunately, Public Trust Offices do not always provide the service the community expects from them, leaving individuals and their families devastated and exhausted.
Removal of a Trustee
It is very important for everyone to understand that there are alternative options available when seeking Will-drafting, Executor and Administration services.
If you are in a position where you want to have a Public Trustee removed from their position, and seek compensation for any losses incurred as a result of their mismanagement, our Brisbane Estate Litigation Lawyers can help you and will support you throughout the entire process.
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Did you see ABC’s Four Corners Investigation of the Public Trustee?
On Monday 14th March 2022, ABC’s flagship investigative program, Four Corners, aired “State Control: Australians trapped, stripped of assets and silenced”. The report investigated the stories of Australians who say they have been virtually abducted by the state, stripped of their assets and stopped from speaking out.
“By definition, they are only acting for vulnerable people because those people have lost the capacity to handle their own affairs. And that’s where it gets really sticky because they owe those people a fiduciary duty, a statutory duty to do the best thing by them and look after their affairs. And they’re failing miserably in relation to that issue,” explains Attwood Marshall Lawyers Legal Practice Jeff Garrett in the Four Corners report.
Jeff Garrett and the Attwood Marshall Lawyers Estate Litigation team have been advocating for change for many years to try to hold the Public Trustee accountable for their shortcomings and support the many people who have suffered as a result. In the Four Corners investigation, Jeff comments on the Public Trustee’s mismanagement in relation to people’s affairs, the conflict of interest in relation to dealing with the funds of the people they manage, and the exorbitant fees the Public Trustee charge people under their management.
The Public Trustee of Queensland is a government agency established to provide important services to Queenslanders, particularly the vulnerable members in society who lack the capacity to be able to manage their own affairs.
The Public Trustee of Queensland offers:
- Will drafting services
- Executor services
- Management of investments and trusts for people who are unable to manage their finances, such as minors
- Financial administration services, for people who may have an intellectual disability, psychiatric illness, acquired brain injury, or an age-related illness
- Real estate services
It is important to note that the Public Trustee of Queensland is a self-funded organisation.
Within the Brisbane community, there is a general assumption that Public Trustees are the most reasonable and trusted option to provide the above services. What many people do not realise is that there are various alternatives available. A private trustee company can provide a more personalised and transparent service to administer a deceased estate, manage a protected estate and conduct the role of trustee.
Yes, it is possible to have the Public Trustee removed. To remove the Public Trustee of Queensland from roles such as financial administrator for someone who may not have capacity to manage their own financial affairs, you need to make an application to a Court or Tribunal. The application will involve applying to have the Public Trustee removed and replacing the Public Trustee with a private trustee company, or individual (if appropriate).
An application to remove the Public Trustee and replace them with an alternative decision-maker can be made to a Tribunal or a Court. In situations where the replacement administrator seeks to be paid for performing this role (such as in the case with a private trustee company) the application must be made to the Court.
The application process to remove the Public Trustee in Court is as follows:
- You must find an appropriate replacement administrator and ensure they are suitable for the individual and their family.
- You need to make the application to the Court and provide evidence before the Court, including:
– The individual’s capacity, or incapacity, to manage his or her own financial affairs.
– The opinion of a family member in relation to the current situation. The Court will want to know that the family supports the application.
– Details of the events that took place that caused the relationship with the Public Trustee to deteriorate.
– Proof of the suitability of your chosen replacement private trustee company or individual.
– Financial reports to show the individual’s financial affairs and the nature of their protected estate.
As the person who is the subject of the application usually does not have legal capacity, anyone who wants to remove the Pubic Trustee and make an application to the Court must have sufficient interest in the matter.
- The individual’s parent;
- The individual’s husband or wife; or
- A close relative who is concerned about the situation.
The Public Trustee of Queensland regularly promote their Executor services, particularly to their Brisbane clientele who take up the offer of a free Will being drafted.
An Executor is appointed as the representative of a deceased person. The Executor is responsible for obtaining probate and administering the estate, including calling in the assets and distributing them to the beneficiaries in the Will. Although the Public Trustee may offer free Will drafting services, by appointing these organisations as your Executor in your Will, you (your estate) will often be charged significantly high fees that the Public Trustee are entitled to take out of your estate after you have passed away and your estate has been administered.
The Public Trustee’s fees are often complicated and extremely difficult to understand. Usually, these fee structures include the ability to charge a percentage-based fee of the value of the assets in the estate. In other words, the fees that will be charged are not based on the actual work undertaken by the Executor.
In our experience, the Public Trustee of Queensland entices people with the offer of a free Will, only to then charge exorbitant fees when the estate has been administered later on.