My daughter elected to have her financial matters dealt with by TAG as she came down with a mental illness.
It has became clear this Government department is only interested in capturing as much money as it can preying on defenceless people. For example, for a start the interest is a paltry 2%. 3 times in the last year my daughter was fined by her phone company $10 a month for accounts that were at least 2 months overdue and service cut off because of it. TAG was supposed to pay this and other accounts. HOW is that looking after a disabled person's money let alone their welfare?
The internet was cut off because they they couldn't even put the correct Customer Reference in the appropriate field. Several stressful phone calls to TAG and internet company were of no use. When I tried to reason with "The Protective Office" ... what a (misnomer) I was told "I don't like the tone of your voice" they then hung up on me leaving it unresolved. I spoke to 2 different people they were EXTREMELY rude. My daughter spoke to TAG about this matter at least 5 times. They promised to ring the internet company which the internet company said they never did. No thanks to TAG we sorted it out because we provided the IN company with dates and amounts of payments TAG said they had made. The IN company brought up payment dates and amounts and I was able to prove it was my daughter's account. Previously car registration etc has been overdue.
I wrote a long letter of complaint of these and various other matters to TAG and of course no response. My daughter wrote a separate letter complaining about the reprehensible rudeness and lack of care. It became clear the Government department had a protocol in place to protect the employees from anyone that has the temerity to question what they are doing and ask for an explanation. Forget about the hapless "clients"
The amount of time and stress that goes into sorting out their horrible inefficiency and rudeness defies belief. When I said I was preparing a document for the Ombudsman she said Oh yeah that's OK
I am now organizing to have her affairs handled by myself and someone else I trust (as I don't trust the Trustee) so that when I die at least she will be looked after. I have a huge amount of money that needs to be managed for my daughter and grandchildren's benefit when I go, and the Government won't be getting their hands on it after what I have witnessed.
I feel so horrible for the poor souls who have no one out there fighting for them. The reviews below are exactly what I expect from this disgraceful Government agency. They really don't care. They just want the money in Government coffers.
Hate this service
The worst and most terrible I ever had in Australia
Very very very bad terrible service, corruption, hierarchy, and never help their customers! I had enough. I emailed and called them and they never reply. And staff are not friendly at all.
Corruption at the highest level
They claim to protect vulnerable disabled persons.. they prey on them and look for dis-functional families as candidates with conflict to obtain all to feed their need for greed.. yet they get paid to feed the "system" lying murdering volchurors.
How can a total stranger be appointed in the best Interests of anyone .. I rest my case.. paramount consideration for their own back pocket!!
Would not recommend to anyone I've been fighting with them for the last 8 years for money to be released they refuse saying I have to be tested and each time I ask where is states I have to be tested they back track and wanna argue about it. Service is very poor. You ask to speak to manger and get they are busy you have to write a letter to speak to the manger sorry but nsw public trustee and guardian are a joke.
I am up to 16 months since my father passed away and still waiting. For the first 6 months nothing was done until my brother in law went off at them. No idea when everything will settle. Really, really BAD. Do not use. Poor communication very slow and inefficient. Do not ring back.
May 2nd, 2017 Update: Disappointed again
These people stuffed us around for over one and a half years, all there own fault they sent a letter to us stating they would charge more if it took longer than 1 year. They had our assets for over 1 year and eventually after ringing so many times about what was going on, they never ring back they charged a massive fee but said they would look into lowering fees once again no contact from anybody there. So we have been stuffed around and then charged a massive fee this organisation are the most incompetent rip off people you will find. They are absolute scum we have been robbed.
Very, very poor service
My mother passed away in November 2015. We had previously dealt with the sale of her property and possessions, so all that was left after her passing were a couple of bank accounts. It took over 12 months to get a preliminary distribution, and only then after numerous calls and enquires. Then the NSW Trustee withheld over a hundred thousand dollars for contingencies raised by their accountant. Despite a request for an itemised list of those contingencies and an estimated date for final settlement we are still in the dark about why and when.
The service is appallingly slow and the lack of communication inexcusable.
Hard to know whether it's widespread incompetence within the organisation or a horrible culture that results in clients being treated as an inconvenience. But whatever the cause this is an organisation that I would never use again and could recommend to no one.
Surety Bond Fiasco
NSW Trustee and Guardian has written to private managers giving them 14 days to apply for a surety bond with Aviva Insurance Limited at twice the cost the same company charges for the same service in England. Yet Trustee and Guardian boasts this was the outcome of a competitive tender. Further the requirement to apply for a surety bond with Aviva has been exposed as a lie at the NSWParliament Budget Estimates Hearings for more than one month now (Other providers may be sought), but Trustee and Guardian has still not corrected its earlier misleading advice to private managers. Avoid Trustee and Guardian if you possibly can, they provide poor service at high cost.
Do not use them! Horriable experience
I had a terrible experience dealing with this government agency. It is about my mother's will of her property - house. They charge you 10% to execute the Will! Then later my mum changed her mind she would like to find a lawyer or friend to manage her legacy. I can't cancel the Power of Attorney by NSW Trustee & Guardian because you just can't get contact with them. The phone/Fax number is incorrect, email address invalid. My call has been transferred a few times to get the person who can answer my questions. I am not saying they are doggy. Just too much inefficient of the red tap.
Do not trust this organisation. They will lie to you and mislead. They will take huge fees for little work and not pay for maintenance of a house, they are not to be trusted! BEWARE! We have had 17 years of hell!
Zero Rating for Public Trustee and Public Guardian
Anyone who has any business sense, expects professionalism not to mention common sense, would not touch the Public Trustee anywhere in Australia or suggest that anyone, other than their worst enemy, has anything to do with them. If you want your estate depleted in record time, told how much you can spend, how to spend it and when to spend it, be charged extortionate fees for nil return then the public Trustee will excel in those expectations. They are not worthy of one star now nor have they ever been for the past 30 years. Your life is better in a 3rd world prison.
As for the Public Guardian, if you want to be deprived of your basic human rights, have no voice, are treated with contempt, become a neuter gender instead of a human being and are deprived of every human freedom and liberty then you have come to the right place. If you expect even the most basic level of care, compassion and protection you will have to look elsewhere - they are hell - and once in the lion's den of despair you will never ever get rid of them unless you die. Evidence and proof is everywhere - not hard to find if you require confirmation. Again, not worthy of anything let alone a star.
Solid Secure Institution
NSW Trustee & Guardian (TAG) have completed a will where I was a beneficiary. They have been professional and courteous but you get the feeling they are slow but thorough. The estate was reasonably easy to manage as all beneficiaries were agreeing to the deceased wishes and all played a team roll where TAG recognised this and worked well. TAG also negotiated a rock bottom deal with an estate agent that we could not have achieved and processed probate efficiently. They process many wills and know how to do it many are problem wills with awkward and complicated situation (Like below) I did like the fact that they were a neutral 3rd party and kept it professional.
Their costs are displayed on their website and are very competitive in fact I could not find any estimate of costs in any other institution online apart from a solicitor in SA quoting 2% of estate value, TAG are 1.1%. I know they have just increased their rates from 30th June 2016 and are now charging a flat rate of $200 for a new will...which is a little disappointing. Also "outsourcing" their Legal dept. but they did act quickly and responded to our enquiries.
The secure fact that TAG will exist after death is reassuring and is an advantage over individuals and private organisations that may come and go within a lifetime. Knowing that a solid institution will carry out YOUR last wishes is important for me. However beneficiaries that are executors will have the advantage of using estate funds to refurbish and update a property for sale to maximise a good price (not policy for TAG). Of course this is a lot of work and management for beneficiaries that the will did not intend to happen.
TAG annual report 2015 is online and gives you an idea of what they deal with but as an executor they:-
"This year we obtained administration of 1568 new estates with a total value of $579 million and had 5314 estates on hand. The average value of estates under grant of administration fell from $599,774 in 2013–2014 to $594,263 in 2014–2015. We also administered 605
smaller estates without the need for formal administration, transferring property to the surviving joint tenant and arranging funerals where no-one else was available. We filed 68% per cent of estates with values less than $100,000 with the Supreme Court within three months of the estate being reported."
Personally I will keep my will with them until someone better comes along and do not want to burden my beneficiaries with managing a deceased estate. It is very easy to make your "Last Will and Testament" but very hard to compare executors and your own choice after your dead but at least the Trustee and Guardian make their annual reports and are a public institution open to scrutiny ..... Hows the Private sector stack up to this?
Will kits are available from the news agent post office but that's not the problem. WHO you going get and trust to do it and to carry out your every instruction you have stated?
Need help with your will?
Having looked after my widowed and elderly mum for nearly 20 years and providing her with financial, physical and emotional support, my mum chose to leave most of estate, that I helped her to build, to overseas family. Without my knowledge, she appointed the Public Trustee to administer this estate.
Foolishly and due to my strong sense of loyalty and compassion for my mum, I always placed her and her needs first and acted in her best interest, to my own detriment. Being under the impression that I would eventually reap the rewards of my efforts from her estate. Her will and a spiteful letter she left me opened my eyes to how she and my family appreciated these efforts on her behalf. I was almost written out of her will, close to being 50 years of age. I suddenly faced everything I worked for over the past 20 years about to be given to people who did very little for mum, including my sister that claimed to be very close to her. I had a choice to walk away with this nothing or to fight for a better share of the estate.
I chose the latter and hired Turnbull Hill Partners (Newcastle) to represent me in the Family Court. They immediately arranged a caveat on the estate and informed the Public Trustee that I intended to contest mum’s will. Thus began 3 years of personal hell with the Public Trustee, my family and various authorities. I informed the Public Trustee soon after mum’s death that I was the only one caring for mum and building her estate and had detailed proof of this. I offered the relevant family members more just and generous settlements that they, driven by greed, chose to decline. From here on, the Public Trustee, my sister and my family went into a life and death mode to hang on to mum’s estate, in this manner:
• When 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. Allowing my sister to keep on looting
• They were happy for my sister having taken mum’s expensive TV, without my permission. Yet they insisted on my giving them less money I collected for selling some of her things, with their permission.
• 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 that this action incurred
• 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 for 8 months
• Being the public servants that they are, they happily paid huge water rates on an unoccupied property having a burst pipe. Disconnecting the water obviously never occurred to anyone. Neither did keeping the garden net and tidy, again inspite of my repeated requests
• 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 this came to the attention to the Public Trustee, they offered me to BUY the car from her estate at an inflated price! As it wasn’t worth it for me, I was required to surrender it for them to sell. Some of my friends offered to pay $1500 for it. The Public Trustee didn’t agree and sold it for $700!
• They left the best for last, i.e. mum’s house that I helped her to buy, take care of and grow in value. Aside for providing a beautiful home for her that I took care of on weekly basis while my sister was always “too busy”, building her own career and assets. Allowing themselves to be heavily manipulated by my sister and family, the Public Trustee finally put up the house for sale after 8 months when its value dropped by almost half. Observing this behavior, I was advised to try and buy it from the Public Trustee, if I was to get anything from the estate
• The Public Trustee organised an auction at long last and consistently refused to let me know the reserve price. I organised a loan and a friend to do the bidding on my behalf because I didn’t want to bid amongst the vultures that had gathered at the house for the kill. As soon as the auction started, it became obvious that games were being played and the Public Trustee had no intention of selling the property. Unfortunately for them, my sister and family, I and another person were determined to get it and fought it out amongst ourselves. I was the first one to reach the reserve price, 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 until I sold it
• With this purchase, karma immediately set into action for everyone involved. In their blind greed and fight for the estate, I, my sister and other family members were required to present claims and financial situation to the Family Court. The presiding judge was no fool and saw matters exactly for what they were. Because of that and due to the dire financial situation that my family and the Public Trustee thrust me into, he awarded ME most of the estate. Family members received token amounts that were nowhere near what I offered them at the time of mum’s death. My sister received some amount, simply for being mum’s daughter. Never contributing anything to mum’s estate or supporting either parents or me in any way.
My mum’s decision cost us $80, 0000 in legal costs. It completely destroyed our family that both my sister and I exited at the completion of the court case. All mum’s friends that had their wills with the Public Trustee changed them after witnessing the handling of mum’s estate. 10 years later, I’m now starting to recover from this experience and would NEVER recommend anyone leaving their will with the State/Public Trustee. Here’s some advice that will hopefully help you to avoid similar experiences:
• TALK about the State/Public Trustee to your family, friends and above all a solicitor handling estates
• 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, it will cost your family dearly. DO ask for EXACT costs of all of their services. You’ll soon realise that they are much higher than elsewhere
• 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 you really want them to go through what our family went through?
• If you are ever unfortunate to have any dealings with the Public Trustee, DO start selling or taking whatever you can out of the estate BEFORE they take possession of it. They’ll take their time in doing so, best to sell/divide whatever you can before they take over. Unless specified in the will, be prepared to be offered PURCHASING items from the estate, at inflated prices
• If you are already having problems with this organisation, contact your local MP for help. Also the Attorney General in your state. The media is another option. Last but not least, do try to organise a Royal Commission into the workings of this disgusting and harmful organisation. I’d be happy to contribute my evidence
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.
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