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- Unreported Judgment
JR QCAT 114
JR  QCAT 114
GAA13675-17, GAA13676-17, GAA13677-17
Guardianship and administration matters for adults
13 April 2018
26 April 2018
NOTICE OF INTEREST IN LAND
GUARDIANS, COMMITTEES, ADMINISTRATORS, MANAGERS AND RECEIVERS – APPOINTMENT – where adult has mental health diagnosis – adult will not engage with external parties – appointed administrator concerned to ensure adults personal needs met – where administrator not able to carry out inspections on adults property – where no evidence of need for a guardian – adult able to demonstrate capacity to manage day to day finances
Guardianship and Administration Act 2000 (Qld), s 12, s 31, s 138
Ms Karen Williams, separate representative for JR
REASONS FOR DECISION
- JR is 65 years old and resides in her own home. She chooses not to engage with those who attend at her residence and does not answer the telephone or reply to correspondence. JR has been subject to the appointment of an administrator since 2011. She has a history of chronic schizophrenia, which has resulted in her having impaired capacity to manage her finances.
- These current applications have come about because the Public Trustee has been unsuccessful in its attempts to gain access to JR’s house to enable regular building and pest inspections, which are required to ensure that it is meeting its obligations under the Prudent Person Rule to protect the assets of JR. So an application was made by the Public Trustee for directions in regard to the house.
- The Public Trustee was also concerned that it did not appear that JR was receiving any support services and made an application for the Tribunal to consider whether a guardian should be appointed for her. The Tribunal has also determined to review the appointment of the Public Trustee as administrator.
- The Tribunal made an order under s 125 of the Guardianship and Administration Act 2000 (‘GAA Act’) appointing Aged and Disability Services Australia as representative for JR to assist her in being able to put her views before the Tribunal. Ms Williams was not able to engage with JR but has perused the file and made some useful submissions on her behalf which will be discussed below.
- When reviewing an appointment of an administrator, s 31 of the GAA Act requires that, the Tribunal revoke the appointment unless it would make an appointment at the time of the review hearing. This requires consideration of the matters set out in s 12 of the GAA Act in regard to the appointment of guardians and administrator. This requires the Tribunal to be satisfied as to whether or not JR has capacity for the matter, whether there is a need for decisions in regard to the matter which would require a formal appointment, and in the case of the administrator, s 31(4) of the GAA then requires that the Tribunal continue the appointment of the current administrator, unless it is satisfied that they are no longer competent or there is another party more appropriate.
- The first issue to be decided by the Tribunal is JR’s capacity to make decisions both in regard to personal and financial matters. In JR’s case, there are no recent reports in regard to her capacity. The reports that the Tribunal has from 2012 show that she has a longstanding diagnosis of chronic paranoid schizophrenia. The reports indicate that JR is able to make daily personal and health care decisions in except in regard to her mental health condition and that she understands accommodation issues and has practical future plans. She was also able to make day-to-day financial decisions but overseeing of major transactions such a house purchase would be necessary.
- Apart from the Public Trustee’s concern about services, including health services for JR, there is no evidence of any need for personal decisions for her. There is also no current evidence in regard to her capacity to make personal decisions. I note that JR had been a client of the mental health services but this ceased in 2014 and it is not known who is currently providing her health care. There is nothing to indicate that she has any unmet needs. The parties at the hearing agreed, and I order, that the application for guardianship made by the Public Trustee of Queensland is dismissed.
- The Public Trustee in their report to the Tribunal noted that they were paying the bulk of JR’s income into her bank account and that from their observations she was attending to payment of her expenses. This reflects the health professional’s reports provided to the Tribunal. As there was no other contemporaneous information I requested that the Public Trustee provide copies of JR’s bank statements for the last year to see whether this would show any patterns which may be indicative of how well JR is able to manage at least her day to day finances. The statements provided a pattern of regular withdrawals form a bank branch and I assume that JR is then using those funds to pay her regular bills and provide for her living expenses. I am satisfied on this basis that JR is able to manage her day-to-day finances.
- JR has considerable other cash assets and her home which are under the control of the Public Trustee of Queensland as her administrator. I note from the health professional report that JR has been vulnerable to financial abuse and therefore without further evidence to show that she has regained full capacity I am satisfied that she has impaired capacity for financial decisions except day-to-day decisions.
- JR has a house and substantial cash assets, which require administration.
- The Tribunal must continue the current administrator unless they are no longer competent or there is another party more appropriate. The Public Trustee has undertaken its role in such a way so as to ensure that JR’s day to day financial needs are met by paying sufficient to her to meet those needs, and has protected her other assets to the extent they have been able to having regard her lack of cooperation with the Public Trustee in not allowing inspections.
- I am satisfied that there is a continuing need for JR to have an administrator to manage her assets but that she is able to manage her day to day finances.
- I therefore change the order made by the Tribunal on 22 September 2015 and appoint the Public Trustee of Queensland as administrator for JR for all financial matters except her day-to-day finances. I approve the Public Trustee’s financial management plan and require that the Tribunal’s order be registered over any property owned by JR. This order remains current until further order of the Tribunal.
- Because of this order, JR will receive all of her pension into her bank account and she will be responsible for meeting all of her day-to-day financial needs. The Public Trustee will still be responsible for her investments and her house.
- The Public Trustee has made an application for directions in regard to JR’s house as they have not been able to gain access to perform their usual inspections and are concerned that this may result in them not meeting their obligations in regard to JR. The Public Trustee made an application to the Tribunal for directions in regard to its obligations to inspect JR’s residential property. Mr Granzien stated at the hearing that the Public Trustee was not seeking an order to facilitate inspection of the property and only wished to ensure that it would be in breach of its obligations if inspections did not occur.
- Having regard to inability of the Public Trustee to gain access to JR’s residential property due to her lack of cooperation, I am satisfied that it is appropriate to make a directions under s 138 of the GAA Act that, the administrator is directed that it is not required to undertake any inspections of the JR’s property to comply with the prudent person rule.
- I note from the material on the file that JR does not wish the Public Trustee to continue as her administrator. For her to be able to be heard in regard to that matter it is required that she file either an application to review the appointment of an administrator or an application for a declaration about capacity with a health professional report supporting that she has capacity for financial matters.
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 QCAT 114
26 Apr 2018