Qld Public Trustee Scam

An article regarding gross mismanagement of vulnerable persons’ finances by the Qld Public Trustee.


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Where is that?

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It is here https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-03-29/qld-public-trustee-denies-making-profit-from-clients/100023364

It criticises the Qld Public Trustee (a Govt Dept) that is the legal guardian and also administers wills; for making a profit from those most vulnerable and directing clients money into their own profit making ventures. It was designed to be self funding, however they have amassed about $178million profit this way and are protected by Legislation which stops clients from disclosing their dealings and some clients had no alternative provider. This comes from a recent report to State Parliament.



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A slightly earlier article on the same topic


One has to remember that this possibly also includes individuals where there are no wills and rightful inheritors can be found. In such cases, the estate becomes property of the state.

The Public Trustee is possibly also cheaper than getting a solicitor to execute a will…but substantially more than a person nominated within the will to do it on behalf of the deceased (a responsible friend or family member).

The Public Trustee also upfront with its fees and charges…


I am not defending the Public Trustee, but sometimes it is thought everything the government does should be free.

As the fees and charges are known, one can easily shop around should they think they will get a better deal.


The Qld Public Trustee, in this example.
Each state has it’s own arrangements.

I trialled the Qld PT estate fee estimating tool from the linked Web page.

It is straight forward to use, and would be a useful comparison if one was seeking an estimate from a solicitor. We approached the Qld PT re administering an estate 8 years ago. The tool appears to cover all the key details for a simple estate, typical of many retirees.

There were several areas that it did not address, including whether there was a properly made will, any need for probate, the value or complexity associated with personal possessions, or whether tax returns were being submitted by the individual. Based on previous experience when we considered the Qld PT to manage a family estate there are many exceptions to also allow for in the estimate.


They remain in the news, not in a good way. Unless there are no alternatives it might encourage people to stay well clear of public trustees, and as recent revelations have gone, probably bank equivalents.

This is not new ground but a PS of sorts to Sue Nunn’s inclusion in the originally linked article.

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Some action for a refreshing change.

Affected Queenslanders seem to have had minimal effect on their government but Four Corners might. They will probably find minimal problems needing addressing as such ‘investigations’ go. Right. One thing Queenslanders can probably bank on is the problem started with ‘them not us’ government(s) being formalised in the reports.


Four Corners introduced 3 cases in the program. Two from QLD and one from WA. The difficulty for any reporting in this area is overcoming what are effectively ‘gag’ laws protecting the activities of the Public Trustee from scrutiny. The PT is accountable to the parliament (and responsible Minister).

In making it’s reports the ABC needed to gain an exemption relating to the 3 cases covered through a successful application to the Supreme Court in each state.

Are QLD and WA alone in this? The ABC suggests the situation is similar in every state and territory. The panel on the ABC’s The Drum from Tuesday 15th March offered similar points of view.

For who have need of the Public Trustee, and come to rely on it to administer their affairs, it is not administered as a public run service. Where one has family who take on that responsibility the law requires them to do so for free. Taking money from the family member for one self is a crime. The Public Trustee (at least in QLD) takes fees to pay for the renumeration of it’s qualified staff and legal professionals to do the same. As the ABC pointed out this is not to the benefit of the individual. It serves only to remove a cost from the public purse. It says as citizens we care less about the individuals and more about saving the public purse. As shown through the actions of our selected leadership in this instance.

Having seen the reports, the program and following the discussion, it’s clear we need to take exception to a system that robs individual wealth where the person of concern has no family to turn to. It’s not a charitable act by any government. Just very selfish and cruel.

Are there double standards?
Can anyone imagine veterans or pensioners being asked to pay for service each time they approach Services Australia. Or having to pay Services Australia for Centrelink staff each time they review your entitlement. Or having to meet their costs in time etc to respond to any appeal or court challenge even if you come away with a success.