Easy Read Guide for Financial Management Customers
This guide is for people whose finances are being managed by the Public Trustee. It explains what happens now and how we will help.
Help to manage your money
Sometimes, people need help managing their money. This might be because you forget to pay your bills, spend your money too quickly, or give money to the wrong people. Also, you might not be getting all the Centrelink money you should.
QCAT or a court has given us the job of managing your money. We do it for a lot of people and have been doing this for many years.
What happens now?
The first thing we’ll do is meet with you and your family, friends or carers, to make a budget with you and plan for your money in the future.
We’ll think about your lifestyle goals and support needs. We’ll give you or your contact person a copy of the plan. If things change in your life, we will work with you to change the plan.
To assist us in getting to know you and helping you manage your money:
- We read what QCAT or the court has told us, then contact you and your support people (your family, friends, or carers) to arrange a meeting.
- We meet with you and your support people.
- We ask you questions to understand your needs, and what bills and income you have. (We also ask you for your bank account details so we can make payments to you.)
- We contact people such as Centrelink, banks, or your landlord, so that all income and bills will be sent to us.
- We make a plan with you (a budget), so your bills are paid, and you have enough money day to day.
- Within a few months, your income (from Centrelink or elsewhere) will start to go to us.
- We pay your bills, and give you money as agreed in the budget.
- If you need some money for something which isn’t included in your budget, you contact us to ask for it.
- Each year, we do your tax, and take care of any other money matters. We’ll also give you a statement, showing how much money you have received and how you have spent your money.
How we help
We will have an initial meeting with you and your family or carers to help you make a plan. The purpose of this meeting is to ascertain from you and your support network what’s best for you, and talk through any questions you may have.
- listen to you and your family or support people before making decisions, and talk through the effects of a decision
- treat you as an individual
- respect your human rights
- help you be a part of the community
- do the right thing.
Your trust officer
We make one person, called a trust officer, your main contact. You can contact them directly by phone, fax, email or in person. We also have experts in tax and investments to help your trust officer with anything complicated.
Financial management plan
We’ll discuss your lifestyle goals and support needs. We’ll give you or your contact person a copy of the plan.
If things change in your life, we will work with you to change the plan.
We can pay some, or all, of your bills for you. This includes your rent or mortgage, food, clothes, insurance, and doctors’ bills.
Income and taxes
We will make sure you get all your Centrelink benefits, and do your taxes each year.
If you have investments or property, we may look after that too and collect the money for you.
Statement of account
We’ll give you a statement each year showing:
- your income
- bills paid
- what you own and what you owe.
If you have investments, we’ll get advice from experts to make a plan so you have money now and in the future. We’ll give you this plan, called ‘a statement of advice’ and review it at least once a year. We’ll contact you or your support people before making any changes.
Real estate management
If you own property, we may manage it for you. This includes:
- doing inspections
- dealing with any council or government requirements (paying rates, etc.)
- overseeing repairs and maintenance.
If you need to sell your property, we may do this too.
Disability support officer
Our disability support officers help our trust officers to support you with things like:
- support services
- special medical equipment
- home and vehicle modifications
- housing support services.
How we make decisions about money
We will talk through decisions with you. We want to help you make decisions for yourself.
Generally, if you want to do something and it is within your budget, we will give you the money.
We charge fees for managing your money. The fees are based on how much work we need to do. However, we won’t charge more than you can afford. If you can’t afford the fees, we will rebate the cost, so you can. We’ll tell you in the beginning how much the fees will be. Find out more about fees.
What don’t we do?
We don’t make personal or health care decisions, such as where you will live and what services or health care you receive. (However, QCAT or the courts may appoint the Office of the Public Guardian to do this.)
We may not be able to arrange certain services if you can’t afford it.
What does the law say?
The law says we must:
- act honestly and carefully
- follow any directions given by QCAT or the court
- not do anything that may be a conflict of interest
- keep accurate records—these can be audited
- keep your property in your name
- consider your human rights
- work with others appointed to make decisions for you (like a guardian)
- always follow the law when dealing with real estate or investments
- not let you give gifts that are too big, or not the kind of gift you would have given before you lost capacity
- support your dependants (usually children) from your money in a reasonable way.
How is the Public Trustee appointed?
QCAT may appoint us, if someone asks them to. The person asking must be a family member, close friend, professional (usually a social worker) or someone else who is concerned about you (including you).
Or, if the court orders some money to be paid to you, the court may appoint us to look after it for you.
Also, QCAT can appoint guardians to make personal decisions which include:
- where you live
- what services you get
- health and personal matters
- legal things not relating to finances and property
- which people you can spend time with.
The Public Trustee is not the same as the Public Guardian.
Find out more about how guardians and administrators are appointed.
How do I give feedback or make a complaint?
If you have any concerns, please speak to your trust officer. If you’re not happy with the answer, contact the regional manager of your Public Trustee office.
For further concerns or to make a complaint, we can be contacted by:
- Phone: 1300 360 044
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mail: The Public Trustee, GPO Box 1449, Brisbane QLD 4001
When we receive a complaint, we will ask you to tell the whole story. We will look into it and let you know the outcome by phone, email or letter. If you are not happy with the response, you can contact the Queensland Ombudsman: