Public Trustee / Estate administration

1 Australia
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My mum left most of estate, that I helped her to build, to overseas family. She appointed the PT to administer this estate. I hired Turnbull Hill Partners to represent me in the Family Court. They put a caveat on the estate and informed the PT that I intended to contest mum’s will. I told them soon after mum’s death that I was the only one caring for mum and building her estate and had detailed proof of this. From here on, the PT, my sister and my family went into a life and death mode to hang on to mum’s estate, in this manner:

• I asked them to change the locks on mum’s house due to my sister’s looting the estate, they did so and locked ME out

• My sister took mum’s expensive TV, without my permission. Yet they insisted on my giving them less money I collected for selling some of her things

• They took away whatever was left in the three bedrooms, fully furnished house and valuable garage and gardening tools. Inspite of repeated requests by me, I was never informed of where her things went. They did, however, present the estate with a bill of $300 for the LOSSES

• Even though there were developers willing to pay $1mil for her property at the time of her death, the Public Trustee refused to release it for sale/rent for 8 months

• They paid huge water rates on an unoccupied property having a burst pipe

• Some time before mum’s death, I bought a car to be able to drive her and her dog to shopping and various doctors. To save paying yearly registration, mum suggested I keep the car in her name. When the PT found out, they offered me to BUY MY car for $3000, that I already bought with my own money for $5000. As it wasn’t worth it, I had to surrender it to them. People offered to pay $1500 for it. The PT refused and sold it for $700!

• Heavily manipulated by my sister and family, the PT put up the house for sale after 8 months when its value dropped by almost half. Not only this, but inspite of my repeated requests, they let my sister “renovate” mum’s property. Too bad she never once shown any interest in it while mum was alive and let her and me maintain it. Observing this behavior, I was advised to try and buy it from the PT, if I was to get anything from the estate

• PT organised an auction and consistently refused to let me know the reserve price. I got a loan and a friend to do the bidding on my behalf. The PT had no intention of selling the property and/or ever discussing their intentions with me. Unfortunately for them, I was the first to reach the reserve price at the auction, set at $100K above the then market value! To everyone’s consternation, I ended up with the property and took on a huge financial burden for the next 7 years

• The presiding judge at Family Court was no fool. Due to the dire financial situation that my family and the PT thrust me into, as well as me being able to fulfill the legal requirements of contesting the will, he awarded ME most of the estate

My mum’s decision cost us $80, 0000 in legal costs and completely destroyed our family. All mum’s friends that had their wills with the PT changed them after witnessing the handling of mum’s estate. I'll NEVER recommend anyone leaving their will with the PT. In preparing a will to protect your family and assets, please follow some of these suggestions:

• TALK to your family, friends and a solicitor handling estates about the Public Trustee

• SEARCH the internet for other complaints about this organisation

• BELIEVE all that you’ll hear/read

• DON’T get sucked in by the promise of a free will. DO ask for EXACT costs of all of their services

• DO remember that these people are PUBLIC SERVANTS and that your beneficiaries won’t be able to get help anywhere, should they encounter problems with the Public Trustee

• DO start selling or taking whatever you can out of the estate BEFORE they take possession of it. Unless specified in the will, be prepared to be offered PURCHASING items from the estate, at inflated prices

• Contact your local MP to pressure the Attorney General for help. As well as the media

Most of all, save yourself and your family soul destroying problems and STAY AWAY from the Public Trustee. DO make a precise will through a solicitor and a trusted public servant such as your doctor, etc. Best to leave all family members out of the execution of your estate and let them enjoy their inheritance.

May 16, 2015

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