Disputes with the Public Trustee of Queensland
Gold Coast Estate Litigation Lawyers
Are you involved in a dispute with the Public Trustee of Queensland?
Our Gold Coast Estate Litigation Lawyers have extensive experience in helping people that have suffered significant loss and stress as a result of putting their trust in the Public Trustee.
The Public Trustee of Queensland states that it is their vision to provide security and peace of mind to the community, and that they place the human rights of individuals at the heart of their service delivery. Sadly, we have had many clients come to us that are frustrated and deflated after they have not received the service they expected or have been hit with exorbitant fees for that service.
It is extremely important for the community to understand that there are alternative options available when seeking assistance with drafting a Will, financial administration, Executor services, or establishing and managing trusts.
Our estate litigation team are able to help you remove the Public Trustee or seek compensation for the mismanagement of your financial affairs, or that of a loved one.
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The Public Trustee of Queensland is a statutory agency established to “protect, promote and support the rights, dignity, choices and wishes” of vulnerable members in our society who have impaired decision-making capacity. The services offered by The Public Trustee of Queensland include (to name a few):
- Drafting Wills
- Executor services
- Financial administration: if someone does not have capacity to manage their own financial affairs, The Public Trustee of Queensland can be appointed as the administrator
- Being appointed as a trustee: The Public Trustee can be appointed to manage investments, allocate allowances and manage trust funds for people who are unable to manage their finances, such as minors
- Real estate services: The Public Trustee can sell property Queensland-wide as part of their trustee or administration services
Within the Gold Coast community, there is a general assumption that The Public Trustee of Queensland are the most suitable and accessible option for the above services. Many people do not realise that there are many alternatives, including appointing a professional or Private Trustee company to administer deceased estates or manage protected estates and conduct the role of trustee.
Yes. If you would like to remove the Public Trustee of Queensland from roles such as administrator for someone who may not have capacity to manager their own financial affairs, you can apply to a Court or Tribunal. This usually involves applying to have the Public Trust Office removed and replaced by a private trustee company, or individual (if this is deemed appropriate).
You must make an application for a substitute decision-maker to a Tribunal or a Court. If the incoming administrator seeks payment (such as in the case if you were to appoint a private trustee company) the application must be made to the Court to seek the removal of the Public Trustee of Queensland from their role, and the appointment of the new private trustee.
A court application is required because when there is payment involved, the Court must approve it.
The process to apply to remove the appointment of the Public Trustee in Court is as follows:
- Find an appropriate replacement administrator and ensure they are a good fit for the individual and their family.
- Make the application to the Court.
- Provide evidence before the Court. The evidence will need to include:
> The individual’s capacity, or incapacity, to manage his/her financial affairs
> A family member’s opinion in relation to the current situation. The Court will want to know that the family is supportive of the application.
> An explanation regarding the events that took place that caused the relationship with the Public Trustee to deteriorate.
> Evidence of the suitability of the replacement Private Trustee Company
> Financial reports to show the individual’s financial affairs and the nature of their protected estate.
Due to the fact that the individual who is the subject of the application usually does not have legal capacity, anyone who wishes to make an application to the Court to remove the Public Trustee must have sufficient interest in the matter.
This would usually include:
- A parent of the individual who is subject to the application;
- A husband or wife; or
- A close family member who is concerned about the current situation.
The Public Trustee of Queensland often promote their Executor services, particularly to the people who make their Wills at the Public Trust Office.
An Executor is appointed to represent the deceased person. They are responsible for obtaining probate of the Will and administering the estate. This includes calling in the assets and distributing the assets to the beneficiaries. Although the Public Trustee may offer free Will drafting services, if you choose to appoint these organisations as your Executor in your Will, they will often charge significantly high fees that they are then entitled to take out of the estate after you have died and your estate has been administered.
The Public Trustee’s fee structure is often complicated and very difficult to understand. These fee structures usually include an ability to charge a fee based on a percentage of the value of the assets in the estate and are not charged based on the actual work undertaken by the Executor in completing their duties.
In our experience, the Public Trustee entices people with their free Will offer, only to then charge exorbitant fees when the person dies and their estate is administered.