Public Trustee helps Maryborough customers in tough financial times
The Public Trustee has been working with major banks, lenders, service providers and other agencies to assist vulnerable residents with access to hardship relief.
Since early March, the Public Trustee has successfully supported customers with waiving a total of nearly $30,000 in debts with the highest amount around $9,000 for those suffering financial hardship.
Acting Public Trustee and CEO Samay Zhouand said helping vulnerable people who have reduced decision making capacity to manage their personal finances was a significant role of the Public Trustee, particularly during tough financial times like the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Public Trustee helps more than 9,000 Queenslanders, who through illness, disability or acquired brain injury can no longer make financial decisions on their own and have no one else to support them.
Mr Zhouand said “Rising debts can include things they don’t need or costs they might not have been aware of. Some examples include if they sign up for a Telco plan they don’t need or don’t understand, or where other people might have used their credit cards without their knowledge.”
“In these situations, our staff make contact with creditors, explain our customer’s position and ask them to give consideration to having the debt waived,” he said.
“Since COVID-19 many of our customers, like others across the community, have been suffering further financial hardship and we’ve provided them with support and worked with lenders and institutions to try and help where we can”.
The Public Trustee is often appointed by QCAT (Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal) as a financial administrator with the authority to make certain financial decisions on a person’s behalf to ensure their needs are met and their financial interests are protected.
Mr Zhouand said “Our role is to ensure people receive the correct pension payments and identify and collect money our customers are entitled to. We also manage their property, paying of bills, everyday banking and arrange funds for personal and living expenses, as well as making investment decisions.
“Contacting creditors and arranging for debts to be paid or waived, and investigating and helping settle unresolved legal issues involving financial matters, is an important part of our role in supporting these people and their families.
“In many cases having the Public Trustee look after a person’s financial management reduces conflict amongst families and gives our customers a sense of financial stability, just knowing they don’t have to worry and they are being taken care of.”
“Our personal financial administration and management services involve a fee, some of which is rebated to most customers under our generous community service obligations,” Mr Zhouand added.
“However, some customers will be charged full fees for the level of service they receive. As a measure of transparency, it is always important to consider trusted family members or private trustee services that may provide similar support prior to appointment of the Public Trustee”, he said.
If you would like more information about personal financial administration visit QCAT Administration for adults, the Office of the Public Guardian or contact the Public Trustee on 1300 360 044 for advice.
For more information visit www.pt.qld.gov.au/financial-administration/about-financial-administration/
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