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Further revelations of Public Trustee of Queensland’s gouging of estates

“The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the Government, and I’m here to help.”

President Ronald Reagan, AUGUST 12, 1986

The Public Trustee of Queensland is a public body charged with managing the finances of some of the most vulnerable members of the community, including those lacking capacity and prisoners.

Earlier this year, this blog noted the various issues with the Public Trustee of Queensland. We warned that you should not appoint the Public Trustee as executor of your will if you care about how much the beneficiaries under your will are likely to receive in the end.

The ABC has now again reported on the Public Trustee, this time in relation to its mismanagement and fee gouging of estates.
Cora Whitfort appointed the Public Trustee as executor of her estate when she made her will back in 2011.  She passed away six years later in 2017.

It took two years  and cost the estate more than $20,000 for the Public Trustee to obtain probate.

The Public Trustee had chased down medical records going as far back as 1995 even though it had received a report early on in its investigations showing that Cora had passed a cognitive test at her doctor’s surgery just three weeks before she went to make her will.

The Public Trustee’s current CEO, Samay Zhouand, has claimed that this occurred “because they wanted to ensure that there was no other conflicting information”.

This does not appear to be correct, as no such requirement applies to grants of probates. Furthermore, the Public Trustee Act contains no such requirement. In addition, no member of the family were disputing capacity to make the will and the officer who prepared the will told the Public Trustee he would not have done so unless he was satisfied that she had capacity at the time.

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