I am a mother of 4 – Grandmother of Happily married to my childrens father for 41 years with all the usual family and marital life – 18 years ago my Husband was diagnosed with a disease that sees his muscles waste and it has progressed very slowly. 5 years ago the progression was such that he needed to have full time medical care and we decided on the nursing home. We (my husband and I) did all the things we thought were necessary including an Enduring Power of Attorney and life went on in its altered way.
Two years ago, my only daughter applied to the Adult Tribunal to have herself or the Adult Guardian appointed my husbands legal guardian and the Public Trustee or herself to our finances on the grounds that I had neglected my husband, stole his money and I hadn’t kept household books while acting as his EPoA and she declared me unfit to care for my husband and our finances.
The Tribunal declared my husband fit to make his own decisions on health and personal matters but applied the Public Trustee to our finances on the grounds that I hadn’t kept the books and there was conflict between my daughter and myself. They “set aside” the EPoA for finances for twelve months with the criteria that the Public Trustee would “teach me how to keep the books”. They haven’t. My husband had been living in a nursing home and been looked after by the staff not me for three years before this claim so how could I have neglected him?
The “stolen money” was a sum that I asked my husband for from his super interest to buy a second hand car because the one we had, had broken down. He agreed and signed the withdrawal papers. There were no books kept because we had never kept household books and it never entered my head to do so. All payments that had been made were by cheque and as such were verifiable at any stage
The Public Trustee took over our finances and everything ran amok. They were supposed to teach me to keep the”household” books and in two years I have not heard from them on that matter. In the first couple of months of their reign, the Nursing Home didn’t get paid and had to send me a bill. I was embarrassed and furious. It was coming out direct debit from my husbands pension account until they got it. Next I got a letter from Centrelink to say the Appointee had pulled out. This caused many phone calls and tears to straighten out. Then MY credit card was cancelled with money still owing on it. They didn’t tell me what they had done. I first had trouble when I went to the bank to make a payment and was told I didn’t owe anything. I fought with the teller for some time to let me make a payment but he wouldn’t let me and I walked out in tears. Sure enough, a few months later I received a letter from some debt collector warning me to pay up or else. I was absolutely livid. Now I have a bad credit rating through the fault of the Public Trustee.
Then last year I received a letter from the Guardianship person on our case (this was now the 4th new person to be in control of our finances) to say they had sent our super financials to ABM ARMBRO MORGANS for an assessment, it had cost us $300 which they had paid for from my husbands money and they would implement Morgans recommendations within 21 days unless I replied. I rang the Public Trustee office and asked why they had not consulted me before doing this because I would not have had it done had they asked. Their answer was “they do it to everyone”. When I asked about them implementing the report within 21 days, they said “Oh no. They wouldn’t have done that”. I said “Well I have a letter signed by you to say you will”. They said “letters get my signature and I don’t always know what gets sent out”.
So I declared it an expensive waste of time and money and they had better reimburse my husband the $300. And next time ask me first before they spend all our money on rubbish. I got a letter back saying they could not give the money back. To date they still have it.
And worse is still to come. At a review last year, they decided to REVOKE the EPoA for two years and the only reasons they could come up with were the books and the conflict between my daughter and myself. They had had the books for the past year and I am still being punished?
Our daughter is now having another try. She has applied for herself or the Adult Guardian to be appointed my husbands Guardian. My hubby has been in the nursing home for the past five years and they care for all his physical needs. All that remains of our married life is for me to visit him and take him to doctors appointments.
The Public Trustee appears to be concerned only with acquiring finances and if you are put in this position, you have no right of appeal ( I can go to the Supreme Court – one Gov body investigating another Gov body ) and cannot question their actions or hold them to account. We don’t have a lot of cash and even less since the financial crash. With that and the added ongoing costs of the Public Trustee to do a very simple job (effectively paying household bills – rates, electricity etc) that even a “fifth grader” could do, we soon won’t have anything.
When you have to go before an Adult Tribunal, all ones private affairs are aired for all to hear. Our children didn’t know our finances but now nothing is private.
My husband, three sons and myself get on well and are very close. My daughter is the odd man out through no fault of her own because she is not in control of her actions. There are psychiatric problems in the family and my daughter I believe is suffering from “morbid jealousy” which family members on my husbands (her fathers) side have. Her only contact with family is with her father and that is obsessive. My husband is caught in the middle. So why would they side with her when she is the only one making these accusations?
Most of what she has put in her applications is lies or at the best untrue. We have all tried to tell the board that but they won’t listen. The conflict was of my daughters making, she is a sick girl and I love her dearly but cannot help and the actions taken by the tribunal only serve to fuel her thinking further.
I have recently spoken to a professional lady who has two sons who are Barristers and she believes that there is no way that a husband and wife can steal from each other and that there is no reference in the EPoA rules about keeping household books. Another person cited the evidence of long standing wills which would make the Adult Guardians decision null and void. All rational thinking discussions cannot find an actual reason apart from ongoing administration fees for the decision.
I have tried to obtain the services of Legal Aid to fight for me, but they can’t help me as there is no funding from Government for this type of thing. One Government agency fighting another. They have it all wrapped up to suit themselves.
We took our vows seriously when we married. My husband has had 42 years to divorce me if he was unhappy with our marriage. Our Daughter is 40, has never married and has no family of her own other than us. She is lonely and doubtless frightened she has inherited her fathers condition. My daughters claim was baseless and the Tribunal called me in but then has no regard for any other evidence or statements provided by anyone else.
It would seem that the people who do listen can do nothing to change the situation and the people that can change the situation do not listen.